The Writer’s Dilemma

I used to be a writer who couldn’t write. Correction: I was a writer who wouldn’t write. I was scared to put my pen to paper or rather scared to let my true thoughts escape my mind. What if what I wrote didn’t entertain you? What if wasn’t smart enough? What if it didn’t move you? What if it just wasn’t good enough?

It was a fear I’ve carried for some years. I had stopped writing poetry and short stories because I had started writing what I was told rather than what I felt. Writing use to free me, but sometimes it also made me feel trapped. It was like quicksand, the fear of inferior writing dragging me deeper and deeper until…well; I didn’t quite make it that far. There’s still hope that I might regain the passion I had that I lost along the way.

I just became too consumed with whether I was creative, clever, or entertaining rather than authentic in my writing. That fear of not “being different” or “being compelling” was stifling. When I worked as a small-town news reporter, I became complacent. Stories became repetitive and so did my writing techniques. It wasn’t about the storytelling anymore; it was about delivering the information. Give the people what they want! Being a creative storyteller suffered and so did my passion for writing.

But in my heart, I wanted to tell a good story; I always loved a good story. But I never had the patient to write a novel. So I became a journalist, I liked short stories with strong impact. But my goodness, journalism was draining. It weighed me down, especially when I got stuck writing about insignificant matters—purple heart shaped sweet potatoes, retirement parties, 75th annual art festivals, 26th local performance of some Broadway show, tax increases, someone famous visiting, someone famous dying—it got be redundant and mundane.

I did have the opportunity to write some amazing stories, despite all the forgettable ones. I think if you’re not careful, writing for money can taint your passion. I took a break from writing in my spare time because it wasn’t as pleasurable for me anymore.

I want to get back to my roots, back to the reason I picked up the pen in the first place, back to reason I pursued writing in the first place, back to the reason I decided I was going to be a journalist rather than a psychologist. I’m a storyteller and I’m a writer who writes because I can. It’s time to get back to me. This is my haven—the place where I don’t write what I’m assigned, but what I feel. Welcome to my writer’s haven.

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