I Sometimes Wonder if Writing is my Calling

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 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 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 reins on editing, to write with abandon without overthinking 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.

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  1. I stumbled upon your blog because I was Google searching about Karada and found your review. I must say, I was pretty impressed by your writing style, not because it’s perfect, but because you are good at telling stories. From reading that one review about Karada, I read your travel posts, the one-week-without-coffee challenge, and the latest post where you detailed your health scare and experience at pasig gen. Even though that last article was quite long, I found myself hooked and read it until the end. As I said — you have a gift for telling stories. So yeah, I hope you do get to write your unfinished drafts, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Just continue doing what you’re doing. Seeing that you’ve kept this up since 2010, I think you have been doing a pretty good job and I’m glad I stumbled upon your personal project in this corner of the internet.

    1. Hi Pauline, welcome to my corner of the Internet. Thank you so much for this comment. I do suffer from imposter syndrome and question my abilities sometimes so words like yours make me feel better. Thank you also for reading the time to read my other posts. 🙂

  2. Hello, Marjorie– It was just this weekend when I discovered you, by accident. That was when I was trying to look up Cafe Central in Siem Reap, Cambodia, because that was where we had a lot of good meals, coffee and just some hours wonderfully passing by in good old Cambodia. And from that time that I discovered your blog, it was as if I was always drawn to your writings, like a book that I could not put down.

    You see, I am also an editor– and editors have extra keen eyes. There is something that I spotted in this article, but I’d like to just point it out to you in a private message. Please reply through my email, as I’d like to make the correction as trying not to be a grammar police/ or spelling police, in this instance.
    I appreciate your honesty and candidness in your posts. Keep it up! Mabuhay ka!!!

  3. I have always admired your writing style! You are one of those rare writers without pretense who is really authentic and honest about your daily struggles and your personal stories. Just keep on writing 🙂 Don’t be too hard on yourself, we all have these types of days 🙂

  4. I have always thought that you’re an amazing writer. I believe we have our cycles and sometimes our brains just need to rest. Be kinder to yourself, Marge. You’ll be able to finish blog posts soon. 🙂

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