Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Taking Stock: November 2016

Pinterest: Nuggwifee☽ ☼☾:

Christmas is coming--and so is the end of the semester. Things are starting to look up.

Dreading: Finals. They’re never as bad as I think they’ll be; the anxiety leading up to them is actually worse. This semester, though, I have a cumulative Chemistry final, so all bets are off. 

Switching: Majors. In October I transferred into English Education (from Nursing), and I’m already feeling a lot happier and less stressed. My goal’s always been to study for a job where I can help people, and English Education combines that with the subjects I’m best at and love most. I’m a little sad about giving up Nursing, but not sad enough to plow through Organic Chemistry. 

Reading: The Boston Jane series by Jennifer L. Holm (I’ve yet to read a book of hers that I don’t at least like); Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, Issues 1-6 of The Dreamer by Lora Innes, The Trespasser by Tana French, Dune by Frank Herbert, and The Fall of the House of Walworth by Geoffrey O’Brien. 

Scrounging: For Thanksgiving leftovers. At this point we might have a little bit of turkey left, but everything else--three-berry cranberry sauce, loaded mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, pumpkin pie--is long gone. 

Missing: Sleep. 

Raging: Over the election. Sort of. At this point I’m more depressed than angry...but also still angry. We’re in for a rough couple of years, and right now I’m praying there’ll only be four. 

Thankful for: My family. Books. Writing. Netflix. College. 

Watching: An ungodly amount of TV, especially during break, plus four horror/true crime documentaries. Each one was creepy in its own way, but my two favorites were Killer Legends and Cropsey. They’re both centered around urban legends, available on Netflix, and very, very good. 

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Why I Haven't Been Writing

 I’m not the kind of person who gets lightbulb moments. Especially not when it comes to writing. Maybe I was on the brink of a revelation at some point—the secret to having faith in my own ideas, or writing the perfect opening paragraph, or finishing every draft I start (and better yet—turning those first drafts into actual readable stories). If I ever was, though, I can say with absolute certainty that I was too stressed/distracted/lazy to notice it. But that’s okay. Because I’m finally beginning to understand why my writing process sucks so much.

 Sort of. Maybe. And I still can’t type they next sentence out without agonizing over how flaky it sounds, but here goes: My writing process has become all about fear. And, okay, fear is something I’ve come to expect, but lately things have been getting out of control.

When I have no ideas, I’m worrying about finding ideas. Once I get ideas, I’m worrying about whether they’re good ideas. While I'm trying to turn those ideas into stories, I worry about the sound of the sentences and the structure of the opening paragraph (and the paragraph after that and the paragraph after that). I worry about word counts. I worry about editing. I worry about every single time I’ve failed before and all the ways I could fail this time. I worry about what I should be writing. I worry about what I shouldn’t be writing. And at some point I finally realized that all I was really worrying about was the finished product. I’d stopped caring about the process of actually writing.

 The thing is, whether the finished story is any good or not won’t matter if I was absolutely miserable the entire time I was creating it. It’s not that I shouldn’t work to make my stories as well-written as I can, but whether other people see them as quality literature or not isn’t up to me. And instead of beating myself up for all the stories that never quite took off, I should be glad that I somehow worked up the courage to try writing them at all.


 I’m not sure how I’ll fix this. For now I’m trying to ease back into writing regularly (I haven’t had much time for that this semester) and trying to enjoy just putting words on the page. Thinking in terms of process instead of product pretty much goes against my entire nature, and I don’t think I’ll ever master it. At least I’m finally trying. I want to quit seeing writing as something I have to do and start seeing it as something I have the privilege of doing. I want to write joyfully. Otherwise, what’s the point?

 (Also, I just looked back over some old posts and saw that I've complained about my fear of failure in at least every other post on writing I've ever published. I didn't plan on this becoming a running theme on my blog, but here we are.)

Picture via Pinterest.