Last night, I sat down to write something for another class. I stared at a blank document on my screen for about 15 minutes before letting out a frustrating sigh, and closing the laptop down entirely. The ever so familiar phrases began in my head while I got up to make a cup of tea: “I can’t think of anything to write because I don’t think I’m good enough to write. I will never be as good as the writers who have come before me. I have nothing in my brain that is worth writing down.” The tea kettle started screeching, and the chain of thought broke. I could feel the cloud of defeat stretching over me.
This assignment that I needed to finish was due the very next day; there was no way around it. I had to write. I opened the laptop again, and groaned. My partner came over, and sat down next to me.
“Is everything okay?” he asked. It had been a stressful weekend, and he knew I was struggling.
“I feel nothing. I don’t have anything that is going to be good enough for this assignment.” I said, sipping on the tea, and basking in the laptop light. I explained the assignment to him, and he looked at me and smiled.
“I don’t know anything about the literary world, but I do know that you’re stuck for a very simple reason.”
“What reason is that?” I asked in an irritated tone. I did not want a lesson, I wanted an answer.
“You’re literally standing in your own way. Cut out the bullshit of other people’s ideas, stop thinking about the process of writing, and just look. Look at this as an opportunity, not as an obligation. Stand up, and let yourself in. You’re blocking what you really want.”
I do this thing where I focus on the writing process, and not the writing itself. I stare into the abyss, thinking of the perfect piece, and then I get stage fright. I talk myself into thinking that any idea I have has either been done before, or will be done better in the future. Then I enter into a never ending feedback loop of bad thoughts, and I accomplish nothing.
This may seem like a very cliche piece, but I thought I’d share it with this blog to explain my fear; this fear of never making it in this world. But I’ve learned in the past 24 hours that nothing will EVER be written or produced in the same voice, because my voice is entirely my own. There’s only one of me, and that is something irreplaceable. Even writing this piece is giving me a sense of self doubt, but I’m here, still in the light of the laptop, persevering.
This post doesn’t really have anything to do about poetry, but this subject can be attached to any type of creative endeavor. If I were to look up resilience in the dictionary, I’d like to think I’d find a picture of a writer at a desk, cup of tea in hand, swimming in self doubt. But I know that writer would still have their head above water, somehow.