I spend a lot of time procrastinating and doing nothing. Nothing especially productive or profound, anyway. Often I make up excuses about writing and I deliver them so much that I actually start believing them myself. I don’t have time. I lack inspiration. I’m just not good at it.
Days pass. Weeks fade. Months might vanish and I realise that I haven’t written anything. It’s certainly not for lack of encouragement – my mother pesters me constantly to write, write, write. “Why don’t you write, Stephanie? Have you been writing? I wish you’d do something with your writing.” That’s my mum – she’s pretty persistent!
When I don’t write I feel miserable. I feel like nothing is working, nothing is right.
But when I write … When I finally look at a blank sheet of paper and decide I have to fill it … I don’t know what it is … it’s not a rush of inspiration or sudden feeling of confidence. I simply forget those excuses and I write.
I realise that I have more time than I ever imagined and I spend it glued to my laptop or notebook. The ideas rush at me with a ferocity rivalled only by my morning lunge for coffee. Any feelings of incompetence seem to fall away, pushed aside for the creativity that burns through my mind and my heart.
It’s a lovely feeling.
Why do I let myself wither under a sea of negative self-talk? Why do I let myself feel miserable and blocked? Why do I let myself forget that feeling of words spilling forth and characters coming to life and worlds being built and destroyed with the stroke of a pen?
But that’s just it … I let myself. I choose to turn on the TV instead of pulling out the notebook. I suppress inspiration and ideas because I don’t have the energy or desire to release them onto paper. I tell myself I’m a terrible writer before I even try.
I don’t know where I saw it, but there was a question posed – maybe in a self-help book, maybe in a novel … it was somewhere, and it stayed with me.
What would you do if you knew you would not fail?
My answer when I first saw it and every time I think of it is: write.
What would you do?