I am sitting at my ancient desktop computer wishing that my brand new MacBook was already here. I finally pulled the trigger last night and decided to invest in a tool that I can use for my writing and creativity.
For me, writing has always been about having the right tools, the right mood and environment to get me going.
In college, would hunt through the stacks in the library to find the perfect spot to hide in and write my term papers. Even now in my own home, it is near impossible to picture myself sitting down to write with no interruptions.
This need to have the right mindset or the right environment has hindered my ability to produce anything creative in years. It’s disheartening. You know that feeling when you have an idea and you get that fluttering in the pit of your stomach? That is the feeling of creativity and it is a feeling that I have ignored and let pass too many times.
Since the age of 10, I have always dreamed of becoming a published author. The thought that my 30th birthday is waiting for me around the corner and I have not finished a creative piece in 20 years makes me nauseous.
I often think – what happened?
It’s not that I didn’t have the confidence, I think. In fact, I feel that I can learn and achieve most things when I put in the work and effort. (Except for math – Math can go fly a kite.) So why was it so hard to sit down and do what I love to do?
Fear. Crippling fear.
So what’s changed? Why now, after all this time, am I starting this blog?
The other day I was driving home from work and an idea for a story struck me. For the next several days I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I felt the tingle of creativity again, after so many years of pushing it aside. This time, I made a promise to myself not to ignore this feeling. But rather, let it grow and develop into something tangible that I can share with the world (as frightening as that is for me).
I let this feeling stew for a couple of weeks as I turned to books, podcasts and blogs about the craft of writing. Now, when I want to learn something, I devour all that I can about it, exhausting myself until I have enough knowledge to rattle off useless trivia to my friends, who could care less. I went through this phase with cooking, gardening, weightlifting, nutrition, coffee, and countless other topics. The hardest part for me has always been using the knowledge I have, putting it into practice and sticking with it.
I just read a fantastic book by Sarah Painter called Stop Worrying; Start Writing in which she states:
Being kind to yourself and as accepting of the situation as you can manage will go a long way to easing the stress of not writing.
Next is to keep an eye out for the returning creativity. Don’t jump on the first inkling of an idea with a ‘that’s it, I’m back, time to start malingering’, but with simple joy that your creativity is waking up. Instead of bludgeoning it with an immediate deadline or wordcount schedule, welcome it with gratitude and, perhaps, a celebratory biscuit.
I am ready to begin the journey of writing my first novel, but I have no idea what I am doing.
I am still in the researching phase, but I want to get into the habit of writing again. As Sarah suggests, I am not diving right into my novel because I know that is a surefire way to let the crippling fear and self-doubt come creeping back in.
Here’s where this blog comes in.
I know that I am not the only one on the path to becoming a writer and publishing my work. As I am learning, I plan on blogging about my experience (including the good and the bad days!) and using this space to connect with other authors and aspiring writers.
And with that, welcome to Socially Awkwords. I’m happy to have you here with me on this journey.
(P.S. Credit for the blog name goes to my boyfriend who lovingly says I am one of the most awkward humans he has ever met – and he’s right.)
(P.P.S. Lets connect on Twitter! @socialeawkwords)