I am writing again, for the first time in more than a year.
Truth be told, I was a little overwhelmed by the success of the last piece, which was, ironically, about writers’ block and the need to overcome it. It didn’t go viral, but by the modest standards of this blog, it may as well have done. I was touched by the depth and breadth of the responses and determined to answer them all. For a while there, it seemed as if I’d finally broken the block, and something profound had occurred. Somewhere along the way though, that turned. I couldn’t face an empty page anymore.
I’m still not entirely sure why. Days turned into weeks and then into months and I wasn’t producing anything – in fact, I was more reluctant to write than ever before. Perhaps I worried subconsciously about the number of followers I’d gained and how I would follow the last piece, or perhaps my modest success had simply highlighted the futility of the whole thing (I am susceptible to existential malaise at the best of times). I realise that I am one of those people who are more frightened of success than failure. Go figure.
The truth – and one that I don’t think I touched on in that last piece – is that it also takes a certain amount of arrogance to expose your writing to the world, to believe what you’re saying is worth reading. That makes me uncomfortable. I questioned my deeper motives for blogging. My ultimate aim as a writer is to be authentic – to find my voice and remain true to that. Comments I’d happened to read from a number of successful bloggers worried me – that their blogs had become all-consuming and skewed their voices, to the point that they’d lost sight of who they were, as writers and as people.
But to echo my previous piece – to call myself a writer, I must write. To find my voice – an authentic voice – I must write even more. I’m still a perfectionist and I still don’t like a lot of my writing but the more I write, the easier it gets. I’ve subscribed to a few writers’ inspiration sites lately too and it’s reminded me again that the majority of us find it difficult, that first drafts often suck, and that perseverance is all. The alternative is to live in fear and live a life that feels forever unfulfilled.
As Hemingway put it: There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed.