I’ve come to a realisation. It’s one about writing and blogging. About guilt and regret. Or, very specifically in my case, the guilt I’m experiencing over my lack of writing.
And… bigger picture, the direction I see my life taking.
This week I finally opened some of my writing projects. You may recall I have several: three novels at various stages of progression, a short-story I started late last year and then something I thought was going to be an ebook, or maybe a podcast.
Although I’d talked about ‘strategies to get into the writing zone’ for months I finally went to the library as planned this week. I did a bit of work on the short story. Then some work on the ebook / podcast thingy. I even instagrammed the fact I was at the library, cos… well, yay me!
But, the most overwhelming feeling I had there was one of pointlessness. And not just because I don’t believe I’ll ever get published or if I self-publish no one will buy my book. Nope. It was the fact that I realised I didn’t care strongly enough about anything on that bloody laptop to want to do it.
I touched on this a few weeks ago – talking about passion and purpose. I love writing. I love words. I love it when phrases play nicely. I love it when they sing.
The main reason I started blogging over a decade ago was because I’d done a number of creative writing courses but was not actually doing any writing. And blogging seemed like the perfect outlet.
I packed up my laptop after a couple of hours and headed home. My time at the library had (eventually) felt kinda productive. Fruitful even. I got some writing done.
But the WHY remained.
I’ve talked A LOT here about identity: the fact it was predominantly wrapped up in my working life when work WAS my life. Since my seachange I’ve struggled with the utopian concept of ‘balance’. Work / life balance: and I’ve written A LOT about the interplay (or mutual exclusivity?) between my most desired values: financial security and freedom / creativity.
Similarly I’ve grappled with the temptation to give up book blogging because of the time it takes and fact it makes reading less enjoyable. But… who am I, I’ve said, if I’m not a book blogger or book reviewer?
It’s felt obvious to me for some time that my destiny lies in writing…. something.
Obviously I am mean to write. Be. A. Writer.
But when I think about writing, my language is peppered with a lot of SHOULDs. And MUSTS. Increasingly, over the past 6-7yrs, my sense of guilt and regret has centred around writing. Or my lack of it.
Guilt that I haven’t written that novel. Guilt that I’ve not done more with my blogging; or pitched articles to websites and magazines for money. Regret that I’ll be on my deathbed and never finished and / or published a novel.
Of course it worries me that I want to write a novel because I think I SHOULD want to write a novel. I mean, doesn’t everyone? Surely my passion for writing should translate into some sort of purpose?
Is it the fear of failure that’s stopping me? The lack of time or headspace? Or is the lack of motivation?
So, it occurred to me. Perhaps I shouldn’t ‘write’. (And I don’t mean that in a ‘I’m not going to diet’ way, hoping I stop obsessing about food, binge-eating, and therefore inadvertently lose weight anyway.)
Maybe I can enjoy writing but I’m not meant to ‘be’ a writer.
As soon as NOT-WRITING (in some purposeful way) occurred to me (earlier this week) it felt very freeing. It means I could do other stuff with my days. (And not just look for a job!) Although I’m not sure what I should be doing if I’m not supposed to be sitting at my desk staring at my computer all day every day. In fact, this is already hitting home as I’ve eased off my reading and blogging.
Of course the realisation and (tentative?!) decision is less about how I’m spending my time, but how I’m spending my days. Or, more importantly, how I perceive myself… my identity, my direction and my purpose. And I’m still working on that.
Closing comments as this is more of a brain fart than something I’m keen to discuss or seek feedback on.
* Atticus quote via Sassind Melbourne on Instagram.