Writing is something that is difficult for me. In theory, I really enjoy it, but the reality is that as I’ve gotten older I’ve become so critical of myself and the things that I create that writing ends up being difficult. I’ll start writing, then I’ll worry it sounds childish, I’ll worry it’s boring, repetitive, that I could have phrased that last sentence better. So in recent years I haven’t written much at all.
When I was a child it was easy for me to write, I hadn’t developed the insane idea that everything I write is just rubbish. I wrote anything and everything I wanted to and wanted my whole family to read it. I don’t think I’m alone in this, I think developing a self-criticism is something that happens to a lot of people as we get older and it’s not necessarily a bad thing unless you let it be.
I don’t write because I worry it sucks. I go over and over my writing to the point where I’m so wrapped up in the negatives that I can’t see anything good about it. I’m working on using self-criticism to improve my writing and make it better, rather than stopping me from writing completely.
I don’t write because I worry it’s a waste of time. What’s the end purpose of my writing? It’s like singing. I really love singing but, again, I’m so self-critical that I cannot sing in front of others. So I don’t join in in choirs or take part in shows, all I do is sing by myself when everyone else in the house is out. I don’t intend to publish anything that I write, mostly because of this annoying self-critical thing I’ve got going on where I feel like there’s no point trying because no one will like it anyway. And because to me it feels too big headed to say ‘look at what I’ve written, it’s good enough to be published, I’m going to send it off to agencies’ – though I know that, of course, that’s not big headed and I applaud anyone who has the bravery to put themselves out there like that. But since I’m not writing with the intention of doing anything with that writing it feels a little bit like a waste of time. But then, is spending my time doing something I enjoy a waste of time?
Here’s a weird one, I don’t write because I worry I won’t do my ideas justice. I have so many ideas and characters swimming around in my head. In my mind, they’re perfect, beautiful, fun, exciting, nuanced stories with compelling, realistic characters. I worry that if I start trying to actually put these stories down on paper, I won’t be able to make them as good as they are in my mind. How can I put a huge, complex, intricate concept into words – the idea of putting something so abstract into something so finite and distinct as words is slightly terrifying.
But – I’ve realised recently that I need to get over myself. Writing might be difficult, it might not always be fulfilling, I might be faced with the fact that I’m not as good a writer as I’d like to be, but here’s the thing:
Not writing is certainly not making me happy.
So why not write, despite these worries? My writing might suck, but I’ll enjoy it in the meantime. I might never intend on publishing it, but engaging with a hobby is something that most people do, a hobby doesn’t need to have a bigger purpose than just fun. And I might not be able to do my ideas justice, but surely getting them out in any form, even a rough one, is better than not getting them out at all?
So, I’ve decided I’m going to make writing for fun a priority, and I’m going to challenge myself to publish it online. So here’s my Wattpad profile:
There’s not a ton of stuff up there yet, but I plan on adding to it. Maybe no one will read it and that’s fine, but adding stuff to Wattpad provides me with a kind of end goal with my writing that I like.
Do you ever experience any of these doubts about your writing? What do you do to deal with them? Leave a comment or tweet me and let’s discuss together and support each other!