Expiration Date

I first began writing when I was fourteen after impulsively signing up for a Creative Writing class offered in my high school. Once the wheels in my head were greased with the thought of creativity, I would spend two to three hours every night scribbling in a journal, or typing on Word. Writing was all-consuming. Writing was what I enjoyed, and looked forward to do.

But recently, I’ve been struggling coming up with new ideas to write about in my prose. The ideas that I write are either refabricated thoughts that I’ve written, or have been knocking around in my head for a while. I can only properly write 1,000 words a day in prose, when I was producing 3,000. This lack of production doesn’t fit my personal standards on where I should be as a writer. Why did I start my writing career so vigorously, and why has my writing capability dwindled? Which leads me to a concern that I never thought I would have:

Do writers have an expiration date?

It’s a great wonder where the inspiration to write stems from. Some think that its our everyday experiences that pepper or inspire writing. Some think that there are ideas floating above our head, that sink into our brain, and that we become so compelled by the ideas that we have to manifest them. I have always been of the personal belief that ideas that make me write come from random thoughts brought on my observations. At least, that’s how it was before I entered college. Now I’m more concerned with manifested scenarios around current ideas. My writing has become commentary on a situation I’ve heard about or seen, instead of the inspirational idea simply popping into my head.

What does this mean, in terms of my writing? Have I drained whatever part of me manifests ideas? Have I wrung my creativity dry, after demanding so much from it?

I’d like to think that the way my writing has changed, and the source of my inspiration, means that I have matured to a point in my writing where I am looking to make a statement about the world I live in. After struggling with the idea that my creative juices might be dry, I’ve come to the hopeful conclusion that maybe my job isn’t simply to manifest work for pleasure. A good work of writing should be a pleasure to read, of course, but maybe I’m searching for the truth in my writing. I’m no longer satisfied making up extreme worlds in which the plot doesn’t have any relevance to what I’m feeling or seeing. In my prose and poetry, I am looking to portray real feelings, real scenarios, real conclusions and frustrations. I am looking for a way to reach the audiences of the world, and to hopefully teach them something about the point of view of a young woman.

As for the significant decrease in time that I spend writing, I’ve noticed that I’ve become more careful in my writing. The sentences that I put into play are chosen with several thoughts: is this sentence relevant? how does it pertain to the message of the peice? is this word in this work of poetry important, or can it be cut to make room for a better, more substantial word?

Maybe I’ve simply matured to the point where the production of my writing depends on my stalling thoughts. The things that I want to write about take time, and research, and that’s also a roadblock in production.

My creativity hasn’t yet expired, but it’s certainly slowed. I’m not sure what this means for me as a writer, but as long as I keep observing and commenting on the world, I’m fairly certain that I’ll be able to live a creative life, writing well-researched and carefully plotted prose, and poems.

One Reply to “Expiration Date”

  1. Have you ever watched someone start a new sport or hobby? One you have been practicing for years? They seem to pick it up easily. That’s beginner’s luck.
    On the other hand, someone who has practiced for ages, understands the technicalities of the sport and always feels as if they are at a plateau, or take one step forward and two steps backwards.
    I believe that the same thing happens in writing. We, as writers, begin to appreciate writing more and more and hold ourselves to higher standards. Thus, this standstill is simply experience catching up to you. It’s a token of time spent writing and researching. All in all, I do not believe that a limit exists, rather your experience is acting as quality control.
    I hope this helps!

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