Will I write or not? I asked myself that question about a month ago. When I was in school I did not like writing papers. I preferred to take a test and be done with it. After school, however, I began blogging about topics that interested me and found that I enjoyed it. One time at church I had an idea churning in my head and could not wait to go home and begin writing. I did not check to see whether my friends were having lunch together. Instead I went straight home and began working. Some of my happiest moments were when I was writing.
Then it happened. I wrote less frequently and eventually stopped. I had trouble thinking of ideas. My passion for writing was fading, maybe because it was not accomplishing its goal. I had started a blog to give myself exposure to help me while I searched for a job in my field of study. That never happened. I never found a job, and I lost my drive to write. I have not written on that blog since 2011.
My job search was a significant source of discouragement. A few years later I tried writing again, and then stopped, and then started again, and then stopped again, and so on.
During the periods of not writing I felt as if . . . it is difficult to describe. It was as if, maybe, something was missing. It was also as if I had quit something worthwhile, and that raised the question of what will happen to my unfinished work. Will it come to nothing, a waste? I am not sure if these are entirely accurate descriptions, but they at least approach how I felt.
Something would draw me back to writing, and that raises more questions. If I am supposed to write, then why do I struggle with keeping momentum and passion, running out of ideas, and then quitting? If I keep struggling and quitting, then why do I keep coming back? It seems that writing is what I need to do (Why else would I keep coming back?), but how do I break out of this cycle?
I do not think I have a complete answer, but I think I have three partial answers. First, I need to make a habit of writing every day, regardless of the circumstances, and even when what I write is junk. I never did that in any of my previous attempts. Maybe that will give me some sustainable momentum and get some ideas flowing. I have successfully written every day since Oct. 4. Sometimes the material finds its way in a post on this blog. Sometimes it is personal thoughts on writing. Sometimes it turns into a fun and interesting post. Sometimes it sounds like a good idea at first but looks like junk when I try to write it. Nonetheless I write every day. A thousand words each day is not possible with my work schedule, and so I set the goal of 250 words and later increased it to 300.
Second, I need to decide why I write. Do I write to help myself find a job? If I do that, then the habit will be hard to maintain if I do not find the job. My reason needs to be more fundamental, something related to the person I am. Maybe I will explore this further in a future post.
Third, I need to find my niche. What will I write? If I find what fits me, something I can do well and enjoy, then maybe I can more easily commit to it long term.
Who else has wrestled with these questions? How do you keep your momentum? What do you do when you struggle to think of ideas? What do you do when your writing comes out dry and flat? If this post is helpful, then feel free to share it with other people currently or previously engaged in the same struggle. Maybe we can help each other.
Possible future topics:
- Why do I write?
- What will I write?
- How will I improve my writing?