Things That Stop Us Writing

Writing is a spiritual pursuit.

Not necessarily the type of writing I’ve done so far on this site – a lot of that cannot be described as spiritual. Much of that is “bloggy” stuff – lists, to-dos and how-tos. Necessary decoration for the halls of the internet, but shallow.

But, in general, writing is very personal. Every literate person is capable of it, but very few do it. Why?

We are scared of being judged

I have never understood why, but there is a sense of innate embarrassment when one shows their writing to someone else. The same can be said of a painter looking for feedback on her art. Yet when a sportsperson displays their skills for throngs of adoring fans, less of the same trepidation is present.

The dichotomy is strange, but distinctly present. We fear that our words, which have come from inside our heads and hearts, are not worthy. We fear the snide remarks or muffled giggles of others.

For many budding novelists, bloggers, authors and poets, this can estop a talent in its tracks.

We fear creative failure

This fear is understandable, because after all, without creativity, what is there in life? What fun is an existence of discipline, order and regiment? A spontaneous laugh, a moment of silliness, a play on words – this is the stuff of life. When writing tentatively, the thought of not succeeding in our own or others’ eyes is petrifying to the budding creative. It is that time when you’re discovering your own creativity that the world seems to fresh, new and exciting. The thought of being stopped in your tracks by failure, and the thought of losing this magical perspective on life, can prevent some acolytes from writing at all.

Writing

We have had the creativity stamped out of us

High school, for me, took what innate creativity I have and bashed it against the wall until it was dead. In its place, I was gifted academic writing structure, made up of topic sentences, statements of written intention and linking phrases. In lieu of innovative combinations of words, I was eventually rewarded for my ability to write on predicable English topics predictably well. Until recently, I had not written creatively in years.

The high school system encourages structure, order and discipline at the expense of wild spontaneity and original thought. For many adults, the words that once flowed from the inner child are long forgotten; dead and buried.

We fear investing time in something for possibly no reward

If we are to write, we must do so for the sheer love of it. I have this blog, and I’d love to monetise it – mostly so I didn’t have to do anything else and could just write constantly. However, to have any success as any kind of writer, I believe it is important to throw yourself into it without thought of eventual financal reward. The only reward, at least at the beginning, should be personal. For me, a focus on SEO and traffic and monetisation really kills my creative instinct. As I mentioned, the how-tos and top-5s are important – but they aren’t the stuff of real passionate streams of words, tumbling onto a page.

Writing

Sometimes, writing is too close to home

Like I said before, writing is personal. Like a doctor who feels empathy for a patient, the writer can feel too much of their medium. Our attempts to keep the personal out of our writing, particularly when writing for a purpose, can be in vain. I believe writing of any kind is a wonderful form of therapy. Letting words tumble from you onto a page is a great catharsis. Forgetting yourself while you let the words flow is an almost out-of-body experience. I’ve heard the same said of artists when they paint. That absolute focus, and being one with your art, is a meditation.

It is up to each creative individual to reclaim their time, their inclination and their desire to write. A self-therapy and a healthy outlet, writing is as primal as speaking.

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