Just before Christmas I felt my work was full of possibility. I was writing, dreaming, seeing dreams become reality. Now – it’s just stopped. I have stopped. In the face of the awfulness outside my comfortable world, writing seems insulting to those in terror. Writing about anything other than war, poverty, injustice seems wrong. Yet I have no direct experience of these things, so for me to write about them is also wrong.
I am acutely aware that war, poverty, injustice have been part of life across the world for too many years. Blanket media coverage has a huge impact though and my hollow tears cannot seem to translate into meaningful action. Poets across the world have rallied themselves to write poems for peace, for fundraising, for awareness raising. I still write about trees, or things that made me feel a particular way when I was 17. It feels pointless.
Why am I writing this then? I’ve been putting it off – for fear of fulfilling the poor me trope, but I have to try to unravel this. I miss writing. I miss the joy of sharing work. I miss the challenge of seeking the perfect word, of deliberating over a comma. Whether I write or not makes no difference to anyone but me.
Perhaps I am at a low ebb for other reasons too. The beginning of this year has felt like a time of endings, and a series of possibilities that have turned out to be non-starters. I have a litany of failed, or unfounded projects, a sheaf of ideas that I just cannot get off the ground. I’m not even getting as far as failing half the time.
I feel at a loss as to hoe to move forward in my writing career – as with so many other things, lack of confidence and a feeling of never quite fitting in leave me on the edge of everything. I am old now. I have felt this way since I was 6. Perhaps this is just how it is, and perhaps I just need to step away from that particular dream of “doing something” with my writing. It makes me sad to have got so close.
Perhaps it will pick up. Perhaps I will gain confidence, both in myself and others. Perhaps it is worth carrying on. Perhaps it’s just time to stop.