Hi, writing. It’s me, Cheyenne.
I know it’s been a long time since we last got together. Months, even. We tried to meet up in August to discuss how I feel like I’m wasting my money by keeping this website online, but we both had some stuff came up. Well, ok, it was really just me who had the stuff. You’re always there, silently mocking me and judging me for not hanging out with you.
I make plans in my head to see you all the time; on my morning walks, when I’m washing the dishes, right before I go to sleep. I think about you constantly, and I tell myself I’ll link up with you later. Later never really seems to come, though. We almost make it, feel like we’re both on track for when we see each other again, sometimes even catching the faintest glimpse of one another. But most of the time, we just decide to reschedule. (Ok, ok, I decide to reschedule).
I watch television shows, dreaming of a life where I get to be the one coming up with the stories I’m seeing, and I pretty much stay on Twitter, where I see countless amazing writers publish articles and books and sneak peek pics of the new script they just wrote. And I think, god, that could be me! I’m a writer! I know how to write! I put the verbs in the right place an spell things correctly for the most part!
Then I look at their accolades, their bylines, their portfolios. I see all the content they’ve produced over years and years and years, and I think about how I should get started if I’m gonna make a mark in this industry. And then I get anxious about being too old to break into writing and stressed about how little I’ve written recently and how I’m running out of time, and then our meeting gets shoved further and further back, and then I get more stressed.
And, I mean, I see you sometimes at work, right? I write and write and write and write all day at work. Marketing emails, website copy, and so much more content that has nothing to do with me. It’s not for me and not in my voice, but I still write, and that should count, shouldn’t it? I mean, it’s not exactly my personal creative expression or an artistic outlet, but sometimes I come up with catchy CTAs, and that’s close, right?
I feel like a fraud sometimes when I get in these non-writing cycles that are so easy to fall into and so unbelievably hard to break myself out of. How can I call myself a writer when we’re coming up on a year since I’ve had any of my writing published? How can I be a writer when I come up with idea after idea for something fantastic that’s doomed to be forgotten in the recesses of my tiny, tiny, possibly medically concerning short term memory? How can I be a writer if I don’t write?
It takes me so long to write for myself now. Like, an embarrassing amount of time. That post I mentioned up top I wanted to write in August? It’s been over a full month and I’ve still only got 2 sentences, half of which aren’t even relevant or factually accurate anymore. I feel like I’m spinning my wheels, driving in circles, taking forever, and having nothing to show for it. On top of feeling jealous and talentless and dumb, it’s even worse when it takes me forever to write.
Friend, I think the problem here is anxiety from watching the success of others (a topic on which I’m sure a baby boomer has written an article about where they cite the evils of social media), creative burnout at work, and waning self-confidence. It’s hard to watch my peers enjoy well-deserved success while I spend my time writing for someone else. It’s hard watching days without writing turn to weeks and months. It’s hard to shake the feeling that I’m an impostor when my latest byline is nearly a year old and my blog is full of posts about not writing. I thought it would be easy doing my passion as a job, but it’s so different and much harder than I ever imagined.
I wouldn’t say I’m resentful, but there’s a feeling there I just can’t place. A feeling of loss almost, at the one thing I love the most, and the one thing I’m good at. A feeling of near betrayal that comes with the burnout from your life’s passion mixed with envy of others, all wrapped up in the feeling that these things are intrinsically tied to your self-worth. It’s not a good feeling, and I’m kinda glad there’s no word for it.
I know this isn’t a good excuse, but it’s the only one I’ve got. I have tons of ideas for articles, blog posts, short stories, hell, even a damn poem; I just never get around to writing it. I’m trying to commit more, which I know I say nearly every time I write about this (and I know I say “I know I say this all the time” probably just as frequently.) But I’m feeling the flames against my feet, more than I’ve ever felt, and I want to do better.
I need to. I don’t have a choice.
Writing, I love you. You’ve been so hard for me for so many years now, but I know the best way to be good to you is just to keep going. I have to keep writing and writing and writing and writing until our meetings aren’t so far apart anymore. I want us to be on better terms. I don’t want to resent you or feel like you’re a burden, and that’s on me. I need to do better.
And, eventually, I will.