I sometimes wonder if writing is my calling. I’m not saying that I don’t like it anymore, I love it and that will never change. However, to call it as one’s vocation, a summon from the universe as the author, Elizabeth Gilbert puts it, seems like a bit of a stretch. She said that she writes every day because it’s her life’s passion. If this is how passion works and I don’t create on a day to day basis (hell, I can’t even finish a single blog post recently) does it mean I am not passionate about writing?
Whenever I cannot write, I feel guilty, which I’ve conveyed a million times in this blog. I am my own critic when it comes to what comes out of my pen, if I am not sold with the structure, I just stop. It’s the only reason I am not very active in my blog despite having plenty of time in this quarantine.
It is not that I cannot write, it is just that I can’t move beyond my discontent. For example, I have been trying to blog about my Laos trip for like forever, wondering if I should make it as a travel guide or if I should adopt a narrative style. Six months have elapsed since the trip, I don’t remember some of the details now, yet I’m not burdened by the urgency of capturing a fading memory. What I do feel is frustration over my indecision to yield an outcome. It frustrates me because it makes me feel powerless.
I have a couple of articles in the draft, none of which are anywhere near to completion. I find myself second-guessing every word, dissatisfied with the flow so, I just close the window and tell myself to do it tomorrow. The next day comes and I repeat the promise. What’s funny is that for two months I’ve built the habit of reading, meditating, exercising, and practicing with Duolingo every single day, which means that if I want to do something religiously I have the capability. Yet for some reason, the will doesn’t extend to my writing.
I was watching this online course in which one of the guest speakers is an editor turned published author. She said that writing didn’t come easy for her because she has an editor’s mind, which means she was revising her content as she makes them. The method puts unnecessary pressure on her that she would oftentimes end up not completing what she started. I sat there awestruck at how she has deftly described my predicament. Her advice is to pull the reigns on editing, to write with abandon without overthinking about structure, grammar, and other rules. The goal is to get it all out there first then leave the revising for later.
I thought about this for a moment, wondering if I am capable to turn off my editor’s mind, to not fuss about my content until it’s completed. And is my problem really about being fastidious or am I just making excuses for my procrastination? At least I am self-aware, which is my fancy term for overthinking.
Would you believe that an article as short and as simple as this —by simple I mean yapping about a personal issue— has taken me almost a week to finish? That’s how good I am at procrastinating. To be honest, I wanted to make this some sort of an inspirational post, like at the end of it, there will be a moral lesson, but nah, if I wait to find a better conclusion this will never get published.
I guess, the only conclusion (if I may call it that) I can come up with right now is that this is a blog, a one-man show that doesn’t have a deadline so I shouldn’t be too hard on myself. Nobody’s going to die of hunger if I don’t write every day, nobody’s going to give me hell. I’m the only one who is frustrated, and that’s a matter that I can only resolve with myself.
Not sure if writing is my calling but I’ll keep writing anyway. I just need to find a way to be consistent. I’ll do better next time.