It’s a scary thing to begin with, writing. You’re pouring your soul into this piece that other people will end up reading, consuming, absorbing, criticizing. There’s always a hope in there somewhere that someone will fall in love with your words, your story. But along with it is the fear that someone will close your book feeling disappointed.
The standards we set for ourselves as writers, however, are far more terrifying. I used to think it’s the opinion of other people that will hold me back. But right now as I sit here struggling to write this blog entry, not able to write a lick of anything since the day I didn’t finish something I promised I would last April, I’ve been proven wrong.
I started writing at an early age. Just poetry, at first. It was cool back then. Or at least, I thought it was. Eventually I acquired a notebook and glued a photo of Justin Timberlake behind the front cover. I wrote poems about all the emo shit I was going through back then as a fangirl and a kid who’s been rejected twice by the girl she likes. I wrote everything with a flourish. I made sure to use the cutest handwriting I could manage even if it hurt my hand… even if no one will ever see that notebook but me.
There were the essays, too. My teachers said I was very good at them. I was one of those kids who was happy to see essay portion written on the test paper. There was even an essay contest held by a local female pad brand. I submitted an essay at the encouragement of my teachers and friends and it got published in a local newspaper. It had my photo on it and everything!
There’s also the fan fiction. The first one I ever wrote was a self-serving story about *Nsync, the next was another self-serving story but this time about Orlando Bloom (I was obsessed with Legolas okay.) I never finished any of them.
And then KPOP happened. I got sucked into the black hole of this entirely different fan culture and found myself creating a completely different identity for myself online – forums at first, until I made a home for myself on Livejournal.
This was when I started really writing. I put out short stories almost every week, sometimes twice a week. I joined writing challenges, managed communities, met new people and wrote with them. I had so much to say, and I had a style, and I had barely any fear because the friends I met through my writing told me I shouldn’t have any. I was in no way the best, but I didn’t suck, and that was enough.
But adulthood does things, you know?
Somewhere along the way I drifted away from the home I built online. Life happened. I could only go back to my old writing community and look at the things I wrote. I couldn’t remember how I wrote them anymore, I didn’t even recognize the words.
I do remember thinking: “Wow, I wish I could still write like that.” My best friend, bless her heart, told me that I still could. I never got to actually try until years later when another friend introduced me to #romanceclass.
Which brings us here, now, with my name in an urban fantasy bundle, a Christmas anthology, and two contemporary romance novellas.
Here, now, when the thought of continuing with any of my WIPs makes me want to throw up.
Here, now, when if I as much as think of opening a Word document, my hands start to shake.
Here, now, when I’m consumed by disappointment and fear.
Here, now, when I’ve forgotten how to author.
I don’t know what exactly triggered this massive block in my ability to speak through my stories. But I know it happened some time after I set the goal of releasing a collection of short stories for #AprilFeelsDay2017… and failed.
No writing, no checking of Goodreads or Amazon, no promoting, no thoughts of any future reprinting – this is where I’ve been for the past two months. I got to a point when I even wanted to throw my outline notebook in the trash, not even wanting to look at what I’d planned inside.
You won’t finish any of it anyway, is what that ugly little voice in my head has been telling me. Even when the stories I originally wanted to write are still sitting heavily in my mind, that little voice has managed to instill fear and block them all out.
During times like this I wish I was still a kid, wide-eyed and just happy to write all the stories I wanted to tell. I wish I was back to the time when I was able to write everyday, little by little, until I had a story worth sharing no matter how short the story may have been.
I wish I was back to when my answer to fear was always: “Yeah, and so?”
I’ve had some friends share some encouraging words, and I appreciate every single one of them. But I know this is something that cannot be helped by anyone but myself.
I don’t know how I’m going to do that exactly… but I hope I can find the answer soon.
If anyone else is going through the same thing or something similar, please know you’re not alone and that I have hope we’ll get through this. It may take time for some of us, it may be tomorrow for the rest, but it will happen.
We’ll be writing again, yeah? ❤