just. keep. writing.

Writer’s block is an enigmatic phenomenon. I could be out for a walk, on the bus to work, heck even at work doing my job, and in under a minute I’ll mentally write an entire blog post. The words and ideas stream in so fast I can’t possibly record them, but I promise myself I will later. I’ll remember this, I think. But when I sit down to write – nothing.

Earlier this week, my colleague – an amazing poet and teacher – spoke to a group of high school students visiting our university to learn more about our creative writing program. (A post on ‘worlds colliding’ should follow this one, as the students’ teacher is coincidentally my best friend, who now lives south of the border.)

I attended the session, but didn’t expect to be so personally impacted. When I was in high school, ‘creative writing’ wasn’t a thing. I remember English classes and learning about form, structure, and grammar…and we did do some writing…but for the most part, creative expression wasn’t truly nurtured or celebrated.

Juliet’s balcony in Verona, Italy.

I can’t help but wonder how different my younger years would’ve looked, had I been encouraged to experiment with all forms and genres in writing. If studying the craft had been presented as a valuable, worthy calling.

Of course, there’s no real point in going there. It’s easy to get carried away with the ‘what if’s, thinking we were somehow shortchanged in our past. But we can’t really know how things might’ve otherwise turned out. Maybe in the end it wouldn’t have made much difference.

My poet friend was so inspiring in encouraging the students to express themselves, and I ponder why writing – a process that can literally be a life-saver for some – often remains so elusive for those who love it most.

Is it vulnerability? Putting ourselves ‘out there’ in any capacity can be intimidating…but with writing, it feels heightened. It’s our heart and soul we’re baring, opening ourselves to others’ perceptions and projections. We tell ourselves not to get caught up in likes, follows (or unfollows), and comments…but how can we not be impacted by those things?

Is it perfectionism? We might think we don’t have time, or that we’re too stressed, to write. But maybe it’s fear: fear that our written word will never look as great as we hope and envision. Fear that someone will make a negative comment, or we’ll sound pretentious or get it wrong. Or, maybe worst of all – that we’ll be exposed as an imposter.

Blogging breaks are sometimes necessary…but I am feeling the creative muse’s call – no, order – to keep writing. It doesn’t have to be blog posts; it doesn’t have to ‘be’ or look like anything. It can just be for me.

When it comes to nurturing our passions, there is always time. But it is on us to carve it out. Fortunately we now have the world of WordPress, where everyone can express themselves to their heart’s content! It’s not too late.

For all those sensitive people so attuned to the reactions of others, I say… I get it. Express yourself anyway. It doesn’t matter if you’re not experienced or published or getting paid for it. If you’ve found something that gives you even the smallest hint of joy, DO IT. Don’t even question why.

It is meaningful, it does matter, and it is making a difference. Just keep writing.

17 thoughts on “just. keep. writing.

  1. Years ago I used to write a lot (in my mother tongue: Italian). Then I stopped because I felt it was useless. About ten years ago I found out art journaling. That slowly led me back to blogging and writing. I have just opened my new blog and can feel the words flow (even if they aren’t perfect English). 🙂 Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s wonderful! It’s great that you’ve found blogging again…and I’m glad I found your blog! I really enjoyed your post on dancing with the goddess. Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! 🙂 Aleya

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I can relate to this so well. I’m in the shower thinking deeply about something, composing an entire post about it in my head. I sit down to write a couple of days later, and nothing seems important enough or interesting enough:) Or it is so intense and personal I’m afraid to share it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so true. To me it feels like I’m tapping into a different realm of consciousness in the moment of inspiration – one that’s not bound by time – and when I sit down to write it can never quite capture the essence of that moment, when creativity was flowing…when I felt ‘tapped in’.

      Or, sometimes we can capture that moment, and it feels really good – which is it’s frustrating when the process is blocked! Especially when we’re writing about something very intense and personal. Thank you for commenting! Aleya

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I know what you mean about getting your post written in your head when you’re away from the computer…it is for this reason that I constantly stop what I’m doing to write down my ideas. My best ideas always come when I’m moving – exercising, bike riding whatever…this is how I get my creative voice in action. XX

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, me too! When I’m in motion I often get my ideas. I sometimes write them in my phone…but the creative muse behind the words can still be elusive. 😉
      I love that you have so many ideas and get them out there. Thanks, Elysha!

      Like

  4. We were never taught form, structure or grammar at my High School in the 80s apart from Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter. In college I wrote poetry after the end of a relationship (my first love) as a form of self therapy, it was really liberating to just write spontaneously. I handed my poems to another student and I read theirs. I thought hers was really good….she made no comment on mine. I was a little disappointed but hey 30 years on nearly I still write spontaneous poetry for cleansing my soul and shear the enjoyment of it. It’s like skipping as a kid.
    The muse throws words into my mind and click click goes the keyboard :-)….plus our words look good on the professional looking screen of a computer compared to the off white lined paper we used at college 🙂

    I like it ‘Express yourself anyway’! I suck at painting or drawing, so words will have to do. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah yes, I haven’t delved into poetry – yet! I seem to have a particularly large mental block there – hah. It really is just about having fun with it all. Creativity is zapped when we take it too seriously and think it has to be something amazing. Which is relative anyways – who decides what’s ‘amazing’? The fact that we’re creating is amazing. Thanks so much for expressing your words and insights here! 🙂 Aleya

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Very good points. I can relate. All these fears you mentioned come up for me when I blog. That is why blogging is always an effort for me while journaling is rather effortless. It is just for me, a much needed mental digestion process, nobody else will read it. So, the pages flow out each day effortlessly. But only 1% of the journal musings makes it into a blog post.
    I wish you all the best for finding your own most appropriate outlet for your writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes sometimes blogging feels like an effort and obligation for me as well. But I also enjoy it so much. I used to journal a lot but I haven’t done that in years and I wonder why. Maybe because I would write with an actual pen in an actual journal! The physical act of writing felt like therapy in itself. And now I am out of practice… it’s amazing how computers/technology has changed our lives and habits! Thanks Karin. It’s great that you are writing so much, in a way that works for you.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for sharing that. Just one renark about the journaling. I also used to write with pen and paper. But now I type my journal at the PC or ipad. It is more practical for me. Typing is faster than using a pen, for me. And I like that I can do a string search in the long journal text. Just my personal preferences.
        You will find something that works for you.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks Karin. Maybe my issue is that when I’m on my computer it’s a habit to be somewhat mindless. The internet distracts me! My attention span is much shorter than it used to be. 😦 It’s one of the reasons I went off Facebook. I’m going to experiment with taking up the pen and paper again and if that’s not working I’ll try something else. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Absolutely. I encourage many of my clients to write in journals for the therapeutic value. I was lucky to have a creative writing class in high school. I do not think I excelled with that teacher, but the practice was good for me. It is so cool that you can mentally create a post in your head. I will get great ideas or themes, and then forget them later.

    However, we will create what we are meant to create. Glad to have you back Aleya ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Indeed we will create what we are meant to create. And that becomes infinitely easier when we take all the pressures and ‘shoulds’ out of that equation. As mentioned in my post, the teacher of those high school students is one of my bestest friends. She’s a gifted writer and the reason she’s encouraging creative writing in so many of her students is so that they’ll nurture and celebrate it as early as possible (if that’s what their heart desires!). I keep telling her to start a blog. 😉 Thanks Linda ❤

      Liked by 1 person

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