I am a writer and I am not sorry for that.
I write what I want to write.
I write what brings me joy.
I write what lets me express and explore my pain.
I write the things I want to read.
I write, inspired by others.
I write to challenge myself.
I write for others on occasion.
I write for myself.
I write also what I need to write.
I am a writer and I am not sorry.
My writing statement, September 2018.
What and why do you write? Scott Russell Saunders, author of The Most Human of Arts, gives a list of reasons we need stories. These include teaching us to be human, to educate our desires, to show us consequences, to teach us empathy by looking through the eyes of other people, to delight in language, and to create community.
Are you apologetic about your writing? Do you feel uncomfortable using that label? If not, did you ever? Has anyone made you feel uncomfortable about what you write by criticising you for writing “dark” or “problematic” fiction? How do you get past negative reviews or rejections?
Think about your writing and maybe write your own statement that says “I am a writer…” and see what comes up for you, what is most important or relevant to you right now. Are there are any surprises? Or are you secure in your approach to writing?
There are many kinds of “writer’s block”, an umbrella term difficulties faced by writers – I’m certain similar things occur for all creative types, under other names.
There’s the type where you have ideas but can’t seem to get them onto the page. There’s the type where you try writing but it all seems wrong and you can’t get far without deleting everything. There’s the (worst, for me) type where you have no ideas, nothing comes to mind, your creativity seemingly lost forever. I’m sure every creative person has stories about the difficulties they’ve faced, the gap between desire to create and the act of creating.
Recently I’ve been dealing with a few things that affected my work. The idea of writing seemed pointless in many ways, and I was feeling upset. Often, writing helps me deal with my emotions, but this time this wasn’t an option. I got caught in a vicious cycle:
I’m starting to feel a little better now. What helped? Processing my emotions not directly through writing. Time, and taking a step back from online activities until I had enough energy to tackle the negativity I’d been seeing. Non-writing projects with obvious results – a bit of gardening, for example. Starting a writing project that probably no-one will read, which means there’s little pressure involved.
There are as many ways to get past a creative block as there types of creative block. You need to find what works for you.
Wishing you all success in your creative endeavours, because to feel disconnected from that process can be heart-wrenching.
In November 2014 I wrote on my personal journal: “I wish anyone doing NaNoWriMo the best of luck! I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll probably never do NaNo.” How things have changed. It’s important then to record your thoughts and your plans, to be able to chart your progress and see how far you’ve come.
Post-NaNo I’ve allowed myself to slow down and take a breather. I can’t let the rest of the novel go for too long but I did need to reassess. One of the things I’ve been thinking about is the sustainability of 50k in 30 days.