If a writer screams in the woods and no one is around to hear it, do they make a sound?
There’s a bitter humor to be found in the fact that the only writing I feel compelled and inspired to put to paper is centered around how I’m not doing any actual writing. It’s been a long while since I was completely honest via the written word. I think I can put this down to the fact that my blog is now associated with my identity as a writer and a certain level of formality is to be found there, however small. A defense mechanism, perhaps. Today I’ve decided, to hell with that. Until I find that muse again I’m going to be chronicling my specific brand of creative purgatory.
When you’re a writer, what are you when you’re not writing?
The short answer for me is: miserable.
However, the long answer deserves to be aired like so much dirty laundry. The truth is I have felt so disconnected from my writing lately that it is almost as if I hadn’t written any of it at all. There is no familiarity with my voice. It sounds foreign and unappealing on the page. There is no comfort in my characters or settings, they are strangers and shrouded in fog. It’s as if I took the part of myself that wants, needs, to write and buried her away inside of myself. I can hear her screaming, shredding her fingernails against the coffin lid, begging for inspiration.
I am a good writer, with good writing habits, I work hard, yet here I am.
There are other forces at play here. I have a fun mental illness cocktail of depression, anxiety, attention deficit, and others. I would be lying if I said this wasn’t an overarching issue outside of my writing, because it is. There’s not much joy to be found in anything lately. I’m not sad, just void. But the part of myself that has dreams and ambitions is still cognizant enough to shame me from the peanut gallery. The longer I sit doing whatever it is that has managed to hold my attention for more than ten minutes (usually video games) the louder that voice gets. “You are wasting your education, time, money, and life! Your lack of significant success makes you a disappointment to anyone who has invested: time, money, love, or hope on you!”
So here I am, a writer who isn’t writing.
Lately, I’ve felt strung up, drawn and quartered, between warring factions practically salivating at the possibility of absorbing my life. My (pretty cush) gig of being a nanny has a visible timeline with a definite end date. That means in the next two years I need to come up with my next step. I desperately want to support myself on writing alone but that’s all but impossible. I’ve been highlighting, journalling, visualizing with self-help books on money, starting your own business, and pulling yourself out of the rut that is young adulthood. I’m a decent photographer if I focus on that more I could potentially turn that into a business. I could try the freelance journalism thing. Or both. But at the end of every thread is the knowledge that no matter what I do it is going to be taking time and energy away from what I really want to be doing. Writing for me. Writing books, not articles about the top five local hotspots for single cat owners.
Hopefully, sooner rather than later, I’ll stop feeling sorry for myself. I’ll come to terms with the fact that each step forward with this passion is two steps back. That no one who’s a writer ever really feels like they’ve made it. That there are no big victories. Only small ones.
In any case, I wrote this, so that counts for something.