In college, writing seemed so magical. And, as an English Writing Major, it was a part of my everyday life. Going beyond the weekly term papers and regular school work in general, I wrote a hell of a lot while I was in college.
The ironic thing is, I never thought I wrote at all.
Yet, now that I’ve been out of school for a while and have a “big girl job” I find my lack of writing triple that of what I ever imagined in college. In fact, I forgot the password to my laptop – that’s how long it’s been since I opened up my computer to write. It would be embarrassing if anyone, other than myself, actually cared that I was writing. But no one does – except me of course.
And I think that’s half the problem.
In college, I was surrounded by people that shared a similar interest in writing. It didn’t matter that they read and, for the most part, wrote completely different stories than me. The fact was, I had a group of fellow writers. It was nothing to talk about alternative POVs or our favorite authors or argue over the best way to plot a novel over dinner or before class or basically anytime that we weren’t sleeping.
It was a magical time.
I remember what it was like to watch senior classmen graduate before me and their excitement to go out into the world. Some of them wanted to pursue higher degrees and others wanted to jump into the workforce right away, but all of them had one common denominator – they all wanted to continue to write after graduation.
But as I continued with my college classes, I’d keep tabs with them with either visits, phone calls or any of the other usual means of communication and I noticed something scary… most of them had stopped writing. When I’d ask, they’d say they were too busy or that they were going to start writing again soon or any of a myriad of excuses that a writing major like me couldn’t fathom. I mean, seriously, why didn’t they just sit down for an hour a day and write? What was so hard about that?
But then I graduated.
And life hit me full force. Between switching jobs, becoming a professional, making a name for myself, dealing with new responsibilities, new relationships, new environments and the list could go on. I found myself telling others that I was still writing. And the truth was that I actually was. I wrote all the time my first year out of college. But then another new job, a dream job, came and soon life picked me up in its whirlwind again.
And here I am two years later and I find I can’t remember the password to my computer. Suffice it to say I haven’t written (outside of work) in a long time.
So in a little over a year, I had become one of those graduates who no longer writes. And it scares me. I can blame it on a million-and-one things. Maybe it’s because I work in the publishing field and read and write all day long. Maybe it’s because I’m terrified of starting back at square one. Maybe it’s because I no longer have much confidence in my writing abilities. Or maybe it’s a little bit, or a lot a bit, of all of that. Regardless, it’s terrifying to realize that one of my biggest dreams has been so easily pushed to the back burner.
It’s scary. It’s sad. It’s not what I want at all. So why I am I allowing it to happen?
I don’t know.
My first year after college, I was like a steam roller. I wrote letters, short stories, added chapters to the novels I was working on – I was all over the place, writing like a fiend. I applied to my first writing competitions and then more, despite never winning. Yet, I still felt motivated to keep writing.
But, during all this time, I had lost my writing buddies.
None of my friends really wrote anymore. And every time I’d ask them to read something I’d written they’d either make excuses or say they would but I’d never hear back from them. I’d lost my back up – my support – and suddenly writing seemed so overwhelming. Before, I’d only have to mention the word “writing” and my friends would go off on tangents. Now, I only get grunts or half-assed, “I’ve been thinking of writing lately, I just haven’t gotten around to it.” Some have out-right said they’re no longer interested.
And I can’t let that happen to me.
We’ve all heard it, that saying: “You are who you hang with.” So how can I ever expect to be a writer if I don’t start immersing myself in the writing world? That doesn’t mean I’m going to ignore all of my old writing buddies but the fact is – I need some support. I need someone who is going to brainstorm with me, read my stuff when I ask, or vice versa.
This is something I’ve had in the back of my mind for a while, but I’ve been fighting it. No one likes putting themselves out into the world to be judged and I’m sure every writer can especially understand what I mean. After all, what if my new writing group doesn’t like my characters, my stories, my writing in general?
Can you say anxiety?
But the simple truth is… I need to start writing again, with or without support. But more importantly, I need to stop making excuses.
So who’s with me?