How to understand this blog

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


This is going to be one of those blog posts in which I divulge things I've been trying not to think about too much. The problem is, I am rapidly becoming so bored with unemployment that I need to fill my time with things... and so it's becoming even harder to ignore this particular issue.

I've always thought 'wouldn't it be great to have more spare time so I could write more stories?' Well, now I have it.

Unfortunately, I feel like I've lost the ability to write... creatively, that is.

I have not written a single story or even the smallest piece of creative writing since I started my MA thesis two and a half years ago.

I feel stunted, like I've lost a limb, because up until that moment I have always scribbled things down. Since I was about six years old I wanted to be an author, and, even if my writing was pretty dreadful then, at least I was doing it.

What's more, I'd always been writer-minded, but not so much now. I was reading Stacy's awesome blog post on inspiration the other day and I wondered where this has gone - my constant awareness of the things around me, my intention to mine them ruthlessly for stories, scenes or characters.

I just don't know where to start now.

I can't blame this entirely on the MA, but it has been affected by my concentration on historical research and historical writing over the last few years. It's such a different way of thinking. I thought it might even help my creative writing, because planning stories has never been my strong point and it's just not possible to write a thesis without planning everything. But now I feel that I've lost the ability to just sit down and WRITE, without thinking too much.

I also feel that I listened to my supervisors too much when they couldn't understand that the pieces of writing I'd submitted to them were just drafts. My draft writing was always quite good but not very good at first draft stage, and so I think they got the idea that I'd already worked on improving it but hadn't succeeded in correcting all the mistakes, etc. They would go through and pick out every flaw, even when I asked them not to, assuring them I would deal with the phrasing later on. So I became paranoid about writing every sentence perfectly, the first time. Unfortunately this only made my prose more awkward. I look at my thesis now, and wish I had ignored almost everything they said about my writing (except for a few valid points).*

I'm hoping that in this public splurge of self-information, I will be able to prod myself into action. Admitting the problem being the first step to solving the problem, et cetera. To a large extent writing is just about sitting down and getting on with it. I get it.

* My supervisors were for the most part amazing, brilliant, helpful, insightful, kind, inspiring and understanding. I simply wish I had had a little more confidence, to know when I should have listened and when I shouldn't have.


heidikins said...

I'm not really one for much advice as my writing has been quite pathetic as of late. But I've found that giving myself the option to only write a paragraph helps. It doesn't need to be a full story arc, just a paragraph. Inevitably, it usually progresses from there.

Good luck, my dear!


Sarah said...

Aw, poor Allie! I once asked Dad why he didn't write a childrens book - since he, you know, spends his whole life in them - but he said he had written and thought in such an academic way for so many years that his creative juices died a long time ago. Thankfully, for you Allie, it's not too late. Maybe start small in a journal?

Stacy said...

I agree with Heidi about setting small goals.

I have written a lot about writing on my blog lately, but I don't actually write very often, so it's a struggle for me too. Really, I write 100-250 words a day, and only a third of that is usable ("usable" as in "something I can revise later").

Oftentimes, writing seems like something that just doesn't belong in daily life.

Sarah said...

Hey Allie, hope you're feeling better about your writing. I've splurged my feelings about the whole process too over at my other blog. Which reminds me, what happened to your Job blog? I liked it.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

Good luck with working this out, Allie! You've had a rough time with the earthquakes too, and everything else going on down there. Maybe your mind just needs a bit of time to settle and recalibrate itself.

Do you journal? Maybe that would help get your creative juices flowing.