I never say what I want to say. The words get stuck in my throat, and what comes out is not what I’m screaming inside my head. My lips are painted with the ghosts of a thousand whispered confessions, murmured to the night and lost in the nothing. Bravery would unleash those secret things and leave my throat unobstructed, but I have always been scared. Words are both weapons, and chains, and I am trapped by things left unsaid. I am small, and I was never meant to be a hero.
I’ve been really struggling to get any writing done lately. First, there was the dead laptop. And after that was fixed, save for a short lived writing frenzy prompted by excitement at having my laptop back, it was lack of time and motivation. Otherwise known as excuses. So, in an attempt to motivate myself and hold myself accountable, I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year.
I’ve heard a lot of really good things over the last couple of years about this excellent annual event, but never quite got around to doing it. This year, I figured there’s nothing like an online community and word counter to keep me motivated. The only problem is that it hasn’t really worked so well. It’s not you, NaNoWriMo, it’s me. You’ve been great, really, and that dress totally doesn’t make you look fat. It’s just…I’ve been single for a really long time, and I don’t remember what it’s like to be in a committed relationship.
That’s kind of how it feels. Like I’m in a relationship with someone caring and supportive and totally awesome, and I’m dropping the ball. I’m a terrible girlfriend, I know. But I promise I’ll be better, if you just give me a chance. See, I haven’t been doing very well at all. Firstly, I forgot I’d even signed up until four days into November. And then, though I made a strong start in an attempt to make up for lost time, I allowed myself to get distracted by episodes of Gossip Girl instead of writing. (By the way, on the GG front, don’t judge me. I started watching it to get some fashion inspiration for clothing to make, and then got entirely too into the poxy plots). But I have been trying harder. I bought a new notebook to take to work with me, and have been writing by hand and manually counting my words to enter in. It’s a much slower process than blasting out the words on a laptop, but I kind of like it. It allows me to really get into what I’m writing instead of focusing so much on how many words I’ve written. When you don’t have a running tally unless you do it yourself, it becomes less about how much or how little you have written, and more about the actual words. It’s cathartic.
I am taking any spare moment I have to get some words out on paper, and despite being way too behind on my word count (the number of words I have to get to achieve the target goal on time increases by the day), this is the most motivated I have been to write in…well, a really long time. And if for no other reason, signing up for and participating in NaNoWriMo this year has been beneficial to me as a writer, and as a person. I feel like I need this motivation, as some kind of validation. I have been talking about being a writer since I was little, but I have been fluffing about for a lot of that time too, and I think people have stopped taking me seriously. In the spirit of full disclosure, I think I have stopped taking myself seriously, and that’s the problem. I have had enough of allowing myself to be lazy. They talk about chasing your dreams; well, I’m about to.
My eyes ache, and it is beginning to spread to my temples. I have spent the last hour sitting at my laptop, writing. Or attempting to at least. I haven’t written in at least a month, and I finally got motivated tonight. I’m writing a short story/novella if I’m being ambitious, and for a while I was writing a bit every night. Since that stopped however, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to get back in the zone. And tonight I really struggled to get down anything good.
The trouble with writing is that most of the time, I can’t shake the notion that I’m just not very good. Even as I type the words, the voice in my head is saying ‘well, this is just boring. No one is going to read this’. There are people who will disagree with me, but you know what they say about being your own worst critic. It doesn’t matter how many people tell me I’m a good writer, or how often, I still doubt myself constantly. It can make it incredibly difficult to do anything productive.
I read things from a girl I went to school with who is quite an accomplished writer, and has work published, and I try to get inspired. I read quotes from famous authors who say to write this way, or that way, or give you ‘Ten Tips and Tricks to Publishing That First Novel’. I listen to my patient and encouraging best friend, who constantly reminds me to stay motivated. And I write a blog because at least I’m writing something. But the thing I actually want to be writing, the thing I actually want success with stumps me every time. It’s like trying to get to a destination, only to have your journey stalled by an impenetrable wall.
I know that I want to write. I want to be a published author. It’s been my life’s goal since I was a teeny child. I’ve been writing stories since I could hold a pen, and all I’ve ever wanted to do is be like my heroes, those marvellous humans that share their imaginations on ink and paper. I’ve grown up with book, devouring every story I could lay my hands on, and I know, probably more surely than anything else, that I want to join the ranks of established, published authors. But first, I need to keep pushing past the crippling self doubt. And that’s the hardest part.
If anyone knows a cure for no motivation and severe doubt in one’s abilities, let me know. Hell knows I’ve gotta shake this. The last thing I want is to be working in shitty retail until I die. I’ve always thought that writing is to be my salvation from a mundane life…if I can ever finish a fucking book. Ugh.
I am a writer. Writing is just kind of the thing that I do…when I’m motivated and inspired. I am a creative person but I am also, unfortunately and to my detriment, an incredibly lazy person. So, most of the ideas that I have in regards to creative pursuits other than writing are often thought of with great excitement, right up until I lose interest. And it’s not because I don’t want to do these things, it’s because I get frustrated about the fact that I can’t.
Last year, I bought myself a sewing machine. As a small woman with a big bust, I often find it difficult to find cute clothes in my awkward size. So I figured I would start making my own clothes, or at least learn the ability to fix the clothes I’ve already got. And I did…for a while. I make aprons and skirts and once I made a vest without a pattern. But that is as far as I’ve gotten. I haven’t done any sewing in months, and my poor neglected machine is sitting in the back room gathering dust. It’s not that I WANT to ignore it, but I have so little time and in order for me to create, I need to have time. Thus, my sewing has ceased.
This year, I finally purchased a guitar, something I have been talking about for years. As a self proclaimed singer without a band, I figured the best way to create music would be to learn an instrument to accompany my vocals, since I know very few musicians I would be comfortable enough to ask to help me. I’ve had the thing probably six months, and I know two chords. I know, it’s a horrible effort! But every time I try to sit down and practice, something gets in the way, and I have yet another would-be creative outlet gathering dust. So naturally, last week I bought a red ukulele with the same intention of learning, just to make things harder for myself. Silly Amy.
And then there’s the typography. As expressed earlier, I am a writer. Some people are blessed with the ability to draw or paint or sketch, and I love those people and envy them in equal measures. I can draw stick figures with disproportionate breasts and that’s about it. But I love words, the way they work and sound and look on paper, and I decided a few weeks ago that I would look into the art of typography. My ultimate goal would be to write short poems or sayings, write/draw them up creatively and sell them. You know how far that went? I haven’t even purchased a how-to book to get me started.
And then, of course, there is my writing. Blogs aside, I haven’t written in months. Again, time is an issue but more and more I realise it’s an excuse. I can make time. I write best at night, when the not so silent silence of my house soothes me and simultaneously thrusts me unceremoniously into a creative frenzy. And yet, my laptop remains beside my bed – yup, you guessed it – gathering fucking dust.
I will make no grand claims here. I will not pretend that I’m going to take up all my creative pursuits at once and throw myself wholly into tackling them because that would be a lie. I won’t, and you all know I won’t. But I will tell you this; I am going to get out of bed, eat, shower and dress. And I am going to look at my guitar, and I’ll walk past it. And I will glance down at my laptop and then ignore it. And I will go out to my back room, take up my sewing machine and alter some dresses I’ve been meaning to fix for two months. I’ll start small and hey, maybe I’ll inspire myself to keep going. Wish me luck!