I often write about how to get through different writing obstacles by sharing my own struggles. I give writing tips, because I love helping other people, and one of the best ways to learn and remember something, is by teaching it to someone else. As an unintentional downside to sharing my problems, I don’t always share my love for writing. It’s something that is assumed for me.
So today, I thought I’d share a bit about why I endure all the struggles and obstacles that I talk about, and in return, I’d love to hear why other writers who read this post write.
Writing is so wrapped up in my identity. It is not something I do, it is part of who I am. This adds a lot of pressure, which could be why I struggle so much with self-doubt and fear. I don’t want to let myself down. Long before I even allowed myself to write fulltime, I could feel the pull of writing. Even when I wasn’t writing, I identified with being a writer. I felt certain that it was only a matter of time before I reached the point in my life when I would write. And for years as I was seeking financial stability in other careers, I felt sad that I wasn’t writing. At times, I even felt like it was slipping through my fingers and I wouldn’t ever reach that point in my life where I’d get to write. That was a soul-crushing feeling for me.
There are days when I feel frustrated with where I am in a story or even in my career. Something has me hung up, or I’m not working as fast as I want to, or I haven’t achieved what I’d hoped. But regardless of what I’m struggling with on any particular day, my worst day as a writer, is far better than the best day I’ve had at any other job.
The simple fact that I’m pursuing what I love is more fulfilling. And my love for writing is what keeps me moving forward. It’s what makes me question why I’m getting hung up. I sometimes think that if I can give the obstacle a name, I’ll understand why it’s holding me back, and I’ll be able to move past it faster. Maybe the next time, I’ll even be able to avoid it.
By being vulnerable to my writing, and sharing my personal struggles, I’ve learned a great deal about myself. While writing about these obstacles, I’ve learned why things hold me up, and I’ve found creative ways to get through them. But even more than that, I’ve recently learned a lot about how other people perceive me.
I’m stuck in my own little box where I panic when I have to speak in public, or interact with a large number of people, and I really thought I came across as socially awkward as I feel. By sharing my experiences in this blog, I’ve received feedback from people I know in my everyday life who text me or call me to discuss my posts. People I’ve known for a long time had no idea I have the panic I do when I talk in a small group, let alone when I have to speak in front of an audience.
At a recent event hosted by my writing group, I gave the welcome, and afterward one of the women in my group asked me about my experience. “You know that five-alarm fire thing you talk about taking place in your head when you have to speak in public? Did you experience that today?”
She said it in such a way that my response was a meek “Yeah,” followed by, “So you could see it?”
Turns out, she thought maybe I didn’t feel it on this particular day, because she saw no evidence of it. So, the good news is that my autopilot works well.
In the end, I put myself through all the turmoil and anxiety, because my love for writing far outweighs everything else. Despite all the doubt and fear, I haven’t thought about quitting. As mountainous as those things sometimes appear, they’re nothing compared to my desire and passion for writing.
Tell me why you write. Is it because you love it, or is there something else that makes you put words on a page? Are you trying to preserve something or achieve something? What keeps you going?