Writing comes with a number of things that bring me joy. I love the fact I can type out a couple of paragraphs, and convey what I’m thinking about a certain topic with a voice that can change and morph more than my spoken words can. I like the fact that it can reach people in different countries, and they read my words with their own opinions and experiences and it can resonate with them – or not at all. Then, the writing prompts questions and conversations. I can read other people’s words and fall in love with their prose. It’s great.
But lately, especially on here, I’ve really come to a block.
Blogging is something that appeals to me immensely, but I’ve never really managed to navigate it. The community on here is wide and lovely, with a large chunk of them running blogs that cover travel, food, lifestyle and pretty much anything in between. They are personal, funny, usually peppered with ‘daily life’ anecdotes and gorgeous photography. A lot of time and effort gets put into them, with bloggers usually sticking to posting weekly content on allotted days to keep their content regular. They schedule, take time to compile posts and are immensely dedicated.
Which is exactly what I struggle with.
I don’t fit into a category, exactly. I don’t write fiction (not on here anyway) and only lightly brush travel and lifestyle. I’m erratic at best with posting, either barraging the blog with posts or leaving it desolate for months. The content I create usually comes as what I like to think of as a ‘column’, something topical or pertaining to life that I then write about. I try to be funny with it. I spend ages writing and re-writing one-liners, until they’re tweaked to have just the right amount of dryness.
I’m not trying to say that I’m a comedy writer, either. But I try bloody hard at what I do. And sometimes it takes time.
But with blogging, you have an audience. An audience that has followed for a particular type of content and will stay should you keep posting said content. With being a writer, and this may just be me – there’s an element of wanting to be validated, to know that the stuff you’re publishing is getting read and people like it. We slave away at posts and sometimes, they can pass under the radar. And that stings.
I see other posts, on blogs that I pettily assume whack them out, and they get millions of views easily. It fuels a horribly jealous competitive streak. I dislike it. But, that’s the nature of the internet, blogging and writing itself of course. Tough business.
Which is why writing to please an audience over time can get exhausting. It sucks any enthusiasm you have for your pieces right from the get-go, and when once opening the laptop or notepad sparked creativity, the screen dulls and pages crease instead. This has driven me up the wall over the past few weeks. Emails have gone unread and unsent, prompts blinking at me from wonderful editors that have tried to motivate whizzing round my head and the panic that ‘shit, I’ve not posted on the blog for a month’ can get into your brain.
The only thing of merit you have is writing, the insidious part of myself whispers. What good is a writer that can’t write?
So, at times like this, I’m a big believer in reclaiming your writing for yourself. Grab a
notebook, get a pen and force it. Scribble down your thoughts, feelings, scream them onto the pages and don’t stop until you’re tired. The most important thing is to write whatever comes to you. Fall in love with the way your pen or the blinking cursor makes words and puts them on white again. Stop. Rinse. Repeat.
I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and I’m starting to come round to my words again. It’s slow, creaking and incredibly annoying that it isn’t happening faster, because I have articles to write and things to do and so!!! much!!! to!!! write!!!
But I’ll get there.
In the meantime, if you’re still waiting for little old me to get round to publishing something, I’m actually featured in a mental health zine that will be printed within the next few weeks! I’m ridiculously excited about it, and even more so to hold a physical copy of my own writing – so if you want any updates on that, I probably won’t be shutting up about it on Twitter.
Thanks for reading, folks.