I don’t know, I really don’t. Sometimes these long bouts of lack of writing make me question whether I ever was a “writer,” or not. I know to be a writer is a very subjective occupation. So, by someone’s standards “I” am a writer, but by (many) others, I am just a scribbler of occasional thoughts and incoherent, uninspired drivel.
As I sit here and think of what all hinders me from writing, I come up with a few reasons, (more like excuses), but whatever, maybe someone can relate.
Lack of Inspiration
Isn’t that everyone? Any artiste – musician, painter, writer – what have you – we all “lack inspiration” whatever that really means. To me, I find that I just don’t see the point in writing about just anything. I’ve tried the whole daily-prompt thing, and while it may boost my energy and vigor to write every single day, it more often works like a 5-hour energy shot – I write 3,000 words in a snap, and then am dry for months on end. Often, I look around me and try “observe the world” for a new angle, a new perspective with which to guide my muse, but I usually get caught up in the gossip and noise of it all, find myself discontent with life, and end up in front of the computer on a Netflix binge while stuffing Ruffles potato chips. (Ice cream, if I’m feeling my sweet tooth.) I know some creatives say that inspiration just has to “hit” you in the right moment. That’s all well and good I guess for most creatives, but I’ve rarely been “hit” by anything – no siblings to swing punches, no fly balls in the outfield, and I would have killed to be “hit on” by a few guys I knew in high-school days. I find that such a strange idea that inspiration is something that is just a happen-chance. I’ve never been a fan of gambling, which also isn’t very conducive for being a writer. By my own people-pleasing spirit and drive to be excellent in whatever I do, I think I must be trying to hunt for inspiration rather than it hitting me. I guess I need to stand on a Mt. Everest with a metal rod super glued to my side and drenched with water and maybe then I’ll get “struck” with inspiration. Either way, I’m tired of my lack of inspiration. I am tired of being on the prowl, and I am tired of inspiration missing me as its target.
Lack of Motivation
Can I get an “Amen!” Whew, probably worse than the first, lack of motivation is a killer to all creative types, but in some ways I think writers have it the worst. Speaking from an amateur artist’s perspective, when I set out to paint or draw a project, I have a clear motive behind it – it’s for someone I love, someone I care about, it has a deeper purpose other than pleasing myself. This is by no means is to paint me out to be a saint (pun intended). I simply know that when I catch a rare glimpse of inspiration, the motivation to follow through with an idea is driven by the fact I cannot wait to make someone feel good with my work. Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas – whatever the occasion, the timeline gives me directive to finish an art piece. I am motivated. But with my writing – ha. I am not a poet, and I doubt anyone wants an annotated essay (my specialty) about themselves or any subject for that matter as a “gift.” I do have stories piled high that are unfinished and unread and maybe if I had an ounce more confidence, I would pass manuscripts to my friends and family. Then, I might feel more prompted to complete my works, but because I am shy with my writing, it stays hidden away beneath pages and pages of itself. Maybe motivation isn’t so much an issue as it is confidence, but without confidence motivation isn’t near strong enough to be a force to blast through the layers of self-doubt and years of self-deprecation.
Did I just hear Simple Plan and Linkin Park circa 2002 start up? Let me slip into my darker clothes and heavy eyeliner.
Lack of Confidence
As mentioned prior, this may be the heart of my issue. The whole reason I find it hard to write: I don’t believe I can. It has nothing to do with fishing for compliments, when you truly doubt yourself. Friends, family, and the occasional stranger can compliment your work and you still wonder if that’s all just nice-talk to the shy wall-flower. Well, that’s me anyway. It’s almost as if I am in a bubble and I hear muffled words that don’t penetrate my defenses, and so I will never value or embrace the fullness of a compliment. It rolls off my little sphere and I am not sure what was said, or what the intent was behind anyone’s words. I am sure every writer has dealt with a lack of confidence streak, but my lack of confidence seems to follow me into all avenues of life, not just writing. Because I believe this is part of my core, I believe it is what has very much challenged me in many areas other than writing. Without digressing into a complete puddle of self-pity, which I did not intend to do so, so forgive me, I believe that confidence is the building block upon which motivation and inspiration find footing in the creative process for any artist; all the more reason motivation and inspiration do not come easily at all to me.
Believing in a Solution
The problem is the difference between what I think and know and what I believe. What I do believe in is God. I believe in Jesus as my Savior, and according to the Apostle Paul, that is all I ought to have confidence in and that is all I should ever need. I believe that, too. At least with my head – I think it to be true, I know that is true. But my heart is slow to follow. Maybe one day it will catch up and actually accept those truths, truly believe, and then my confidence will be as firm as the rock on which Christ built his Church. I think and maybe even know God gave me a gift to construct words, sentences, paragraphs, and author stories. Maybe one day I’ll believe it, too.