Saturday, June 11, 2011

Road blocks, speed bumps and other strange signs

I have been wanting to write, but feel as if I am paralysed whenever I actually try getting round to doing so.

With the exception of work (which is a must-do thing if I want to continue receiving pay cheques every month), I feel as though I am somewhat hindered from writing the stuff I want to write.

Well, technically there's nothing to stop me from writing, like what I'm doing right now. But I can't seem to muster any form of useful inspiration, and I keep myself from actually writing more and more often because I consider all times that I really did write, and feel horrible because I remember that the results of it were not very good.

I wonder how I could have ever written any form of entertaining fictional pieces in the past to the extent that those in my social circle could actually compliment me on it. In fact, I can't quite comprehend why anyone would have wanted to read the stuff I wrote at all.

Maybe it's just a rough patch of me not enjoying my work and in essence it's just another dry spell that will blow over at some point. Or perhaps my creative writing skills are coming to grinding halt - something I fear, yet often feel powerless to prevent.

I must admit, I have been entertaining thoughts of writing non-fiction stuff just to get a book published (one of my major life goals). And so I've tried writing opening paragraphs and chapters and what-have-yous.Later on, when I re-read what I've written, I feel terribly uncomfortable and extremely disappointed with myself. Am I forcing myself to write something that's not me, I wonder?

But everytime I try cracking my brain for some kind of imaginative plot that can serve as a starting point for a novel, I keep coming up empty. The very thought of writing anything fiction involving more than one chapter just completely scares me. I've tried it before and the ideas I have normally end up getting all tangled up in my mind and the entire episode will end with me completely abandoning the story.

Could it be that journalism is slowly wiping all traces of creativity out of me? That in the pursuit of hard, cold facts I have forgotten how to dream and forsaken the poetic license that allows me to bend time, space and the universe for the sake of a well told (fiction) story?

I feel defeated for some reason. And at the same time, I feel like even my emotions are unfounded. That if I so much as breathe a word on how I actually feel or what thoughts are actually coursing through my brain, I will be immediately rubbished off and told for the gazillionth time that I am being too emotional or just plain silly.

I even hesitant to compose blog posts. I can't even complete the missing blog posts for the already stale April Challenge. At least during my university days I could still write about real life or what I felt about whatever I was going through, but now even that feels worthless.

I somehow have it in my head that any outburst of emotions or articulation of thoughts on my part will result in me inadvertantly killing off the interest of blog followers in reading my blog, hence slowly but surely causing the number of them to dwindle until a point where there is no one left anymore to read what I post here.

I feel illegitimate. I feel inhibited.

I am tempted to believe that I have nothing good left to say - no more brilliant ideas nor fascinating philosophies nor riveting tales - to offer the world. That perhaps the passion that once sustained me and kept me writing is fading fast. It scares me to think about what will happen should it disappear altogether.

It's almost as if I've lost something precious, and that in losing it (whatever it may be) I have somehow lost the ability to be profound, to write things of value, to make sense and resonate with my readers.

It is baffling to analyse endlessly of what the thing you didn't know you lost is. Or the fact that you're not even sure that you had lost something in the first place.

Ah well, at least I haven't lost my morbidity.


Samantha said...

oh what happened to your nanowrimo project?

Susanna said...

Samantha: Are you the same popcornpickling Samantha that I know? :P Erm my Nanowrimo projects have never succeeded thus far, and are also part of the huge cloud of growing disappointment.

Cathy Webster (Olliffe) said...

HAR! Are we sisters?
I spent more than 25 years as a journalist before switching gears to the graphics end of the newspaper business. When I was writing stories for the paper, I couldn't bring myself to write on my own. I mean, who can write all day and then write at night? It's almost impossible, and yes, your creativity goes out the window. When I stopped writing for a living, I suddenly started craving writing. I, too, am struggling with a novel, but it's a lot easier now that I don't write other people's stories all day long. Don't be hard on yourself... you're just going to have to give yourself writing assignments at home and treat them as seriously as if your editor assigned it to you. Good luck.

Susanna said...

Wow, 25 years in journalism! You must have accumulated quite a lot of experience from those years. I'm sure it was invaluable.

And now you're doing graphics? You sound like a mighty talented individual to me, Cathy :)

What was your beat when you were in journalism?

I'm kind of all over the place because the place I work in is a small set up, so all of us do everything and anything that needs to get done. But I guess my strengths are in business writing as well as community and education related stories.

And yes, what you said is quite true - I am usually quite brain dead by the time I get home from work and not too keen on staring at the computer to write again. Haha.

I think my greatest struggle now is finding the appropriate voice when I write my own stuff. At work it's easier in the sense that there's a framework to base my writing on, but when I try to write ambitious things on my own like a (fiction) story or even anything vaguely along the lines of an autobiography, I typically get stuck over issues such as whether it should be written in past or present tense, in first or third person, etc.

Samantha said...

yes it is! the one and only :D oh but what have you been writing about? whats been your genre? do you still have them? is there anything that i could read? im technically on a break now and i'd love to if you saved your work :)

Susanna said...

Samantha: I wanted to write something based on my experience of backpacking for one month in Australia and New Zealand last year. Not really a travel writing thing, but more of my own feelings and experience backpacking for the first time.

I wrote an opening chapter and found that rather boring :(

I was also trying to write another piece based on my brief trip to Manila, which was my first time flying overseas by myself. That hasn't really taken off well either.

Maybe I'll send them to you after I've revised them a bit? Right now quite malu lah. Hehe. Which email should I send it to?

For other stuff I've written lately, it's mostly on this blog. I've put effort to apply labels of my posts, so if you click on the Labels on the sidebar, you should be able to find short stories or poetry all grouped together :)

Samantha said...

thats awesome! well whenever you decide to i'd really like it if you sent it to this address:

ill be sure to check out the rest of the stuff on your blog. i really wanna write a book in this life time. and im sure you do too. so i hope we will eventually :)