For the last few months I have struggled—mightily—to write. This is nothing new for me. In fact for several years now writing has been a chore. But, aside from the last six months, it has always seemed to be a problem of time. In the rare instances where I could carve out a block of time, I still has a good chance I would be rewarded with a passionate flood of words and images. At least once every three or four weeks I was still able to hear my pulse in my ears as I tried to type as fast as my brain was willing to ramble on.
But in the last six months, these periods of productivity—that seems such a cold word for an act that is both joyous and manic—have been completely absent. During this time writing has been totally joyless.
I have been written during this lull. I’ve managed to scrape together a listless, tedious Christmas story that while meant to be funny, doesn’t even manage a few sarcastic eye-rolls. And at least every other day I pull out one of three different stories that either need rewrites, editing, or finishing. But I make no progress.
So, I’ve started to ponder the questions that we all ask ourselves from time to time:
Am I a writer?
So, yes, I am a writer.
Do I really want to keep writing?
People have told me that I’m ADD when it comes to hobbies. But the truth is that simply love learning. When the learning curve levels out, I start to lose interest. The hobbies that have been the most interesting, for the longest period of time, have been the ones with the most to learn.
So…have I learned all there is to learn as a writer? Not even close. I still can’t use all the senses to set a scene. I still have trouble with plot-driven stories. I still have tons of trouble editing my own work. So that’s not the issue.
So, then…am I still enjoying it?
Right now, no, I’m not. Writing is nothing but commitments, chores and frustration. But is it fair to judge something I’ve enjoyed for two decades, on the last six months? Six months where I’ve been ill, underemployed, just scraping by, and under tons of stress. It doesn’t seem like it would be such a bad idea to take a step back for a few months, but I’ve had friends stop painting for “just a little while” and never pick up a brush again. But then again if writing is gone from my mind, it seems silly to keep making myself write simply because I once fancied myself a writer.
So this is the question I’m having trouble answering. Do I really want to keep writing?