I’ve always been a writer. For as long as I can remember, I have “written” constantly in my head, on paper, and on keyboards. Yet, lately I feel like a writer who is not writing. I’ve realised there are five reasons why.
1. I’m now a mum
I love my two precious young daughters and willingly give them so much of my time and energy. However before, I thought nothing of curling up with a pen and paper and scribbling uninterrupted for an hour or more. Now any mum will tell you though that finding time to write really is a limited luxury. Yet my girls have also given me so much writing inspiration since they became part of my world. Most of that is currently still just floating around in my head but as they become older and more independent, I’m sure I’ll find more time to capture that in writing. Meanwhile those writing thoughts are probably maturing like fine wine!
2. My schedule has changed
I used to write best at night, usually around 10pm or later. Though with so many early starts with energetic children, combined with a part time job and a business, when that traditional “writing time” comes about these days, my brain is already half asleep. Sometimes I force myself to write through it but often just give up and go to bed. There are nights – like tonight – where I do find myself awake and inspired (it’s currently 11pm) but those days are few and far between lately.
3. The ways to share writing have changed
Writing 10 years ago used to mean me, my pen and my private diary. To this day (as far as I know!), no one has read those but me. Though I often considered – and still do – that one day someone may read what I wrote (and often censored it accordingly!) the focus of my writing was simply on capturing my thoughts for me. Now, we live in a world of blogging and instant sharing. Though on one hand this excites and inspires me, it has also stifled my writing style. Having an audience – albeit a faceless one – brings so much mental censoring before anything is ever written.
4. I’m a perfectionist
When I do something, I want to do it well – and especially considering the public forum blogging offers, this is a hurdle for my type of personality! Though I heard a wonderful maxim a few years ago though that I try to live by – “progress not perfection”. So as I know in my heart I’m a writer, and need to write, I just have to overcome this one. Even after I hit “publish” I still want to go back and make changes. I remember more than a year ago asking wonderful bloggers I admire such as @squigglemum and @beafunmum about how many times they edit a blog post before posting online. I found their posts so inspiring I thought they must work on them for weeks! Though I don’t remember their specific answers, the lesson I took away was along the lines of “just do it!” and that you become a much better writer that way instead of working so hard on each individual piece.
5. I am writing – just not “real” writing
When I say I feel like I’m not writing, ironically I write every single day. When these are work emails, Facebook status updates, shopping lists and to do notes, there is not that same level of satisfaction as a diary entry or blog post. So I think simply recognising which types of writing do bring me that joy and consciously pursuing those – with some level of discipline – will make me feel much more like a “real writer. Recently my mum sent me a handwritten letter. It was lovely and so long since I’ve done the same for someone. Are long, handwritten letters becoming a lost art?
So there – after a month since my last blog post, I’m writing again. It feels good. Do you know that feeling?