When Writing Feels Like a Chore
How the heck do I shake this writers block?!
Ever since I signed up for Vocal (back in 2018, I think), it has been my goal to write more. It's always been a huge passion of mine, and to get paid for writing about whatever I want?! It couldn't get more perfect.
So why, then, have I been here for almost two years and have only published 8 stories? The answer is pretty simple: writers block, and lots of it.
When I was younger, writing came very easily to me. I could pull ideas out of thin air (though most were based on my life and admittedly not very creative), and I often couldn't stop once the words started flowing. I used to love English class, and I took Creative Writing at least three times in high school (we were allowed to retake electives, and my teacher was fantastic...why not?!) Back then, I was convinced that I was going to study English in college and write the next great American novel. Ah, to have such blissful naivety again. I did start college as an English major, but I failed my first English course because my professor didn't like my style of writing. That was a very big wake-up call for 18-year-old me, but ultimately it led me to my current career path in mental health, and I wouldn't change that for anything.
Clearly, those naïve dreams did not work out in my favor, but I never stopped loving how it felt to write. I journaled my way through college and started writing a lot of poetry (think Rupi Kaur style, but before her books were published). I started a Wordpress blog in case other people found my words compelling - and some did! That blog helped me to write through some really hard times. I'm actually thinking about self-publishing a collection of my pieces, so that my words can potentially reach even more people.
After writing that last paragraph, I took about a half hour reading through some of the posts there, and it made me feel a lot of different emotions. Each one brought me back to the exact moment it was written, and I felt each emotion as if it were brand new. I had forgotten about so many of the things that, when they happened, felt as though they were things I couldn't ever recover from. I felt happy for the progress I've made, and sadness for all of the hardships I had to deal with to get to where I am today.
Most of all, it made me a little disappointed in my current self. Writing used to come so easily to me, why does it feel like pulling teeth now? I still get lots of ideas - I have several notes in my phone dedicated to them. Sometimes I'll think of one good line for a poem and jot it down, hoping that the rest of the words will come to me. But sitting down to actually turn those ideas or one-liners into stories...honestly, sometimes feels more like a chore than a hobby or passion. Sometimes I get so hung up on how long it's been since I've written and I start beating myself up for not making my hobbies a bigger priority. Other times, I have a clear idea in my head, but once my fingers are on the keyboard, finding each word feels like searching through a fog without a flashlight.
I'm not sure how to reignite the fire in my heart for writing, but I hope I figure it out soon. Here's to 2020 being the year I get back in a writing groove!
How do you work through writers block when it affects you? Send me your best tips and tricks!