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Becoming A Writer - Write Here, Write Now
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Most of us know at least one person who "dabbles in writing", whether they write blogs, poetry, a novel or even fanfiction. When I was seventeen and unfortunate enough to be infatuated with a vapid long-haired guitarist who wore paisley shirts, this dabbler was me. I carried a notebook everywhere I went, furious scribbling and doodling at every opportunity. I'd wake at ridiculous intervals in the night to write down half-asleep lines of surrealism. My desk was surrounded by balled-up pieces of paper and dog-eared sheets, whilst my computer was full of unfinished documents. It seemed like I was constantly writing and creating, even if most of my work did end up getting deleted or pushed to the back of the shelf to be cringed at years later.
Once the infatuation wore off and I was busy enjoying myself (or occasionally studying) at university, I became Just Plain Lazy where writing was concerned. Gone were the notebooks, gone were the hundreds of half-written poems. Of course, my love for writing never faded, and I tried to tap back into it by taking Creative Writing modules after a year or so of avoiding writing. By that time, I was so out of touch with writing I felt I had lost my 'voice' and that I was simply regurgitating horrible inky splats of previous authors onto the page. The passion and enjoyment had been sucked out writing; it became an undesirable chore that I left well behind me for many years after graduation.
The urge to write never left me, but I'm ashamed to say that I swallowed it for a long time. Occasionally I would write a poem here or a story there, but it never felt authentic and I really had to force the words out. Too often did I think, 'What's the point?' or 'I'm not good enough to write', or I'd let distraction get the better of me and spend my day procrastinating instead of creating. Deep down, I doubted my ability as a writer. I felt that writing was too painful, that there were dark words inside me that would spill uncontrollably onto the page and shame me. I could not consider writing without a twinge, a wince or a cringe. There were too many 'buts' to even consider starting again, so I did the comfortable thing and suppressed those urges.
It wasn't until I began writing professional copy almost ten years later that I realised that I could enjoy playing with words again. It wasn't until the positive comments began rolling in that I realised that I still had worth, that I still had my voice. I wrote introspective blogs to further regain my sense of self, until I grew the confidence to write new poems, songs and stories (pain free, might I add!) With every piece I write, I can feel the passion for writing returning drop by drop. Because writing is enjoyable now, there's no need to stifle the urge - when I feel compelled to write, I Just Do It. Though it hasn't been easy, I no longer worry about how my writing will be received, because I've finally accepted my need to write. And because I need to write, I do it and you know what? I love it.
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