When I was younger, I would constantly be writing. I’d sit on my bed with my laptop and write post after post about what I thought about child models, why I hated the fact Kate McCann had brought a book out and about how Audrey Hepburn captured my heart. I’d sit and write and publish it to the world, without waiting for validation or a sign that it was the perfect time to create.
As I got older, I started to feel like I could only write if the time was right. I’d wait for the ideal situation where I was in an okay mood, had some quiet time and didn’t have a to do list longer than my arm. I became a perfectionist and constantly battled with my need to express myself vs my anxiety about producing the perfect piece, which had to be written under the perfect conditions.
With my insane need for control, I ended up forcing myself into the dreaded arms of writer’s block. Day after day, I’d fight it. I’d sit down with an idea, only to feel strangled by my OCD and would start to question whether it was worth sharing, or had enough substance to be published. By the time I’d managed to get it down on paper, I’d be exhausted and wracked with self-doubt.
Then I came across a wonderful quote by Ernest Hemingway that reconnected me with writing. He said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit at a typewriter and bleed”.
It’s taken me seven years to come to the realisation that there’s never a right time to write. There’s never an ideal situation or perfect conditions, and by telling myself there is, I was shutting off my creativity. The sun will always rise and set, and time will never suddenly stop for an hour to give me the headspace to write. I can’t sit and wait for something that probably will never come.
His words also allowed me to accept that writing is a journey. It can be painful, it can feel like when the words have left you that they’ve taken something from you on their route from your mind to your paper. But, I’ve learnt to embrace that feeling. To me, that’s just how I know they are true to me, because I’ve experienced an emotion when setting them free.
Accepting that writing will always be a struggle for me, is strangely comforting. Knowing that it’s okay to feel this and that I’m probably going to experience this every time I sit down to write, is oddly encouraging. It takes away the need for the perfect conditions and has taught me that the trick to keep writing is exactly that – continuing to write, regardless of whether I feel time is right or not. The more I write, the freer my mind feels. And the more I write the more I want to write, which actually feels pretty magical.
So next time you feel like the time isn’t right, write whatever is in your mind anyway and see where it takes you. Mine brought me here.