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Why I find writing so difficult

by Carolyn McMurray 2 years ago in goals

from the rational to the irrational...

I’ve written on and off since I was a little girl but back then it was so much easier. I was writing for no one but myself and even if someone did happen to read my work it never bothered me. At 19 I'm now so aware of myself and how others might perceive me that writing has become difficult. It’s become harder to write uninhibited and that is the ultimate goal. To write what you want and how you want without fear of other peoples’ opinions. I’ll often find myself writing a piece that I adore but will eventually render unreadable once I start thinking about all the people reading it. This seems like a pretty valid reason though. As with all the other *normal* points like the quest for perfectionism and endless drafts that never amount to anything much. But then there are all the other, irrational, seemingly pointless things that make writing so difficult for me.

There is my mind and all my little, personal quirks that make writing a challenge. Maybe it is just my own paranoia but sometimes I believe my writing will actually write over my life. Most of my pieces are based on my own experiences or emotions and this can make writing very personal. I find it hard to separate it all from real life. Words are so important to me; I’ve grown up on them, I’ve loved them. So when I do write I am thinking about the consequence of my words on my own life. No matter the topic, tragedy, adventure or even love, there is always a part of it that is carried into my own life. Love seems like such a beautiful, easy thing to write on but when I write about it I encounter mental road-blocks. It’s the one topic that I find the most difficult to write about which is funny; it’s also my favourite.

I remember writing about a man once and how I felt about him and all I could do was romanticise him. I already had feeling for him but my writing magnified it and made him into something untouchable. It was as if writing had sealed the emotions and the feelings in my mind and now that was all I could think about. There was no ugly, no defect; nothing that couldn’t be praised. And the whole time I wrote I knew it. And all the praises and the theatrical writing were never even done for the sake of the story. They were simply done because it came naturally to write about him like he was something out of a story. Now I am so aware of this and cautious when I write, to the point that it's hard to be uninhibited completely.

Then there is my mood. It seems writing is so dependent on it. In my case writing comes spontaneously and impulsively. It’s not just a switch that I can turn on. It’s different with non-fiction pieces in the form of blog posts or copy-writing. But when it comes to creative fiction I need to be in the mood for it. It just so happens that a lot of the time my mood is not aligned with my desire to write. I can spend all day with that desire but if I’m feeling too happy or too unhappy or too anything it throws everything off balance. It’s even more complicated when I realise I write best when I am actually unhappy. It’s not that it’s easier to write when I’m sad but my writing has a different spark to it. Maybe it’s because the emotion is real and I'm better able to connect with my characters. Maybe I’m just a little weird but when I read poetry I can’t help but think that the author must have been moved by emotion.

When I’m sad my writing feels heightened, sharper and more impactful. I feel like I’m writing against a score of dramatic music. It feels like everything is bigger and somehow the words just come and they come easy. I do think that my words come out more beautifully when written in pain. You would think that happiness would make way for such beautiful and clear words but I find it to be the opposite in my case. The problem with this is that I’m not eternally unhappy. My moods are naturally always changing and being unhappy doesn’t last an entire week (which I’m grateful for). So the only answer to that challenge has always been to write when the impulse and the right feeling has struck and even then emotion sometimes makes it difficult.

What I find the biggest challenge to be is my inability to weave sentences and phrases I’ve come up with into a story. By story I mean a full, complete novel. Thanks to platforms like this and Medium it’s easier for me to write smaller pieces that can connect well. My dream is to write a novel though. I have all these ideas and have even created mood-boards and playlists that match different ideas. I have a little notebook that’s sprawling with pretty words and poetic sentences that I’ve thought of during the day. My difficulty lies in forming a story out of all those pretty words or at least incorporating them into an existing idea. The idea of abandoning that little notebook and starting afresh seems so wrong to me. Maybe I’ll try it if nothing else comes to mind but I try everyday to think of new ideas and new phrases. The more I think about it the more I’m starting to realise how driven I am to have my future novel read like poetry. I want it all to be beautiful and magical; from beginning to end. I’m not even talking about the plot but the actual words and the style of the writing. This will always make it difficult for me to connect and form a complete story but it's a work in progress.

Now I adore writing just like I adore books. But it seems like my love and passion for words and pretty poetry have made me picky and not just about the books I read. There will always be that drive for near-perfection in writing and I think that’s something anything who loves writing will know. I think writing will always be difficult for me because I’m sensitive to everything (the world, myself, opinions) but that doesn’t make it less of a passion.

I am just so in love with it.


Carolyn McMurray

19 with too much time on my hands so decided I would write away. 📝

Love reading; anything by Nabokov is a winner to me 📘

I'm into really obscure topics 😜

Instagram: carolynmcmurray171

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