On being content with not becoming a writer

Or at least trying to be.

I remember being around 16 or 17 telling a classmate about my writing hobby and that I had thought of doing it as a career. At the time I was pretty lost with regard to career plans and my civil engineering dream was becoming less and less likely.

My classmate on the other hand was an excellent academic – who went on to study medicine.

He told me (in a roundabout way) that sometimes when you try to turn your hobby into your career it ruins it.

At the time I think I said something like yeah you’re right. But in my head I thought but I wanna be a writer and over half a decade later I still think that.

However, despite wanting to be a writer, I’m now 2 years into a career in transport. For the most part, I’m pretty happy with where I’m at and that has made me realise that more than wanting to be a writer what I really want is to write.

And I do write.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Being a vulnerable writer

It turns out I’ve been hiding.

I’ve been hiding from the kind of writing that challenges me. I used to think that that meant being more personal and baring my soul.

But I was wrong.

I think there is beauty in being able to write something that not only moves the reader but also the writer.

Not the painful, tortured writer but instead the kind of writing with feeling behind it instead of just words.

It’s hard to find the time to push myself with what I share on The Daily Gemm in-between everything I have going on (and everything I distract myself with). And sometimes I allow myself to be bare minimum because I know I can get away with it.

But I read something beautiful this morning and it moved me. It made me remember just what I love about writing. It got me thinking about how I used to write and how I haven’t pushed myself to explore my writing enough.

I don’t even remember the last time I just sat and wrote without thinking about what I would do with it once it was finished.

I haven’t written a poem in months.

I daydreamed about writing these personal essays about my life yet I rarely write more than a couple hundred words at a time and never get round to even planning the essays.

I’ve been hiding and I didn’t even know it.

 

A writers influences

Whatever is going on in my life will be woven through the words I write.

At times, I’m like a floatie being pulled and swayed in all kinds of directions. But I’m easily influenced and inspired.

From the ages of 16-18 I studied textiles, discovered Seth Godin and read a few books by Dickens.

That trio of things heavily influenced my writing at the time through the language in used. I can see it now but I was also aware of it at the time.

And as time has passed new things have influenced the way I write things like music, nature, relationships etc.

I still have my core style but my choice of words and what I want them to evoke has developed and grown with along with me.

For this blog my writing is heavily inspired by my themes of overcoming fear, self exploration, dream life etc

But I’m also still influenced by Seth Godin after all these years (I’m now in my twenties). I’m also influenced by things that move me emotionally, I’m a feelings person, who has kept a journal for more than a decade so it’s a big part of who I am. I can’t help but let that part of me pour out when I write.

I’d like to think that my influences and inspirations come through but it’s not down to me if they show or not.

That’s for you to decide.

Maybe writers should try painting

For about a decade I’ve written almost daily and in the past 7 months I don’t think a day has gone by that I haven’t written.

But I recently started to wonder if I should stop writing. Not altogether but to simply take a break. I’m not sure what the benefits would be but it would definitely be a challenge.

Writing is embedded in me, it’s part of who I am. It’s the thing I do when I’m bored, inspired, overwhelmed, thinking, planning or looking to capture a moment or feeling.

I suppose like with any creative thing it’s good to take breaks and refresh your mind. Or even try creating in a new medium, painting for example.

How strange it would feel to pick up a brush instead of pen. It would be like flexing a new muscle or an old one in a new way.

But perhaps in that space of strangeness, newness and unfamiliarity there’s something worth exploring.

In-flow

I’m experimenting with a different kind of way of writing. It’s less rigid and less forced yet still has a focus.

I’m writing In-flow, from a place where the words pour out simply and with ease. It makes daily blogging much easier and to be honest maybe it’s just a result of blogging daily for over 3 months.

It’s been over 200 days now, the writing habit is well and truly ingrained into my lifestyle.

But it feels good to be in a space where I don’t have to try so hard to come up with what to write. Every. Single. Day.

Tortured writers and the appeal of tragedy

And sometimes we write simply out of necessity.

It’s not that we have groundbreaking points to make or ideas to share but instead that we feel drawn to putting pen to paper or tapping away at keys.

It’s something we do for ourselves, everyone else is secondary because no matter how many people read, comment or enjoy these words they don’t really know what it took to pour them out.

I think that in a lot of ways that’s exactly how it should be.

We all go through things in life but some of us just choose to express it through the medium of words or maybe the words chose us.

But we don’t have to be these tortured writers who know nothing more than the tragedies of life. When we focus too much on being that way we fall into thinking that we need those things in order to write.

We think that no good words can come from days of sunshine and laughter which causes us to constantly seek out experiences that evoke feelings that get us to that mental place of tortured-ness.

On the other hand maybe we’re already in that place and writing is the only thing that helps.

It might not be writers block

If you want to write something but nothing good comes to mind, you might think say that you have writers block.

And so perhaps you take a break from writing, convinced that you have nothing good in you to pour out at this time.

But you’ll be back to writing once the cloud clears and all your good ideas are back because what’s the use in writing if it isn’t good.

However there’s a second option, to keep writing. Even when you think it’s bad or when you know it’s not your best. Do it for the practice or for the routine.

You might even find that what you thought was writers block is just a sentence or 2 of ‘bad writing’ and after that you’re back to your usual flow.

 

A writers confidence

My writing habit was born from journaling which explains why I write with such confidence.

I’m used to writing about my thoughts on life and things I’ve experienced, in fact I’m incredibly comfortable doing it.

Granted a blog is more open than a journal but the practice is the same.

It’s been more than a decade and since I first started journaling and more than 7 years since I started my first blog.

And looking back over 10 years, my writing has improved so much. I can’t promise I’m the best at it but I’m confident that I’m better than I used to be.

Best of all, it’s something I love to do.