It’s really too bad.

I used to be a writer.

By that, I mean that I used to spend quite a bit of my time writing out stories. One of the first ones happened when I was 12. I had a legal pad and went crazy, filling the pages with my writing. Page after page was filled with sloppy cursive handwriting, echoes of dreams, and visions of things that might be once upon a time.

Writing shifted when I was introduced to email. My cousin and I started writing out a novel together. We’d take turns writing chapters, glorious nonsense that we finally printed off and put together in a binder. Only our grandparents were allowed to see it for a long time. There is work that only grandparents could be proud of. We ripped off so many plots from different television show. We were trying to see how we could marry her love of the X-Files (which was quite controversial in my family) with my love of the Hardy Boys. In the end, it was a fun romp but a romp just the same.

In highschool, I started writing out a love story. I don’t know why I wrote a love story. It just happened. It was set in my small section of the world and carried my imagination with it. I was so proud of that story, even though I never finished it. That’s the terrible thing about love triangles – they don’t resolve easily. One day I’m going to go back, rip the story to shreds, and see what beauty can be salvaged.

I don’t remember writing during college. I was too busy with school assignments and learning the inverted pyramid. Then came time to see the world and Europe beckoned. It wasn’t until the August after graduation that I really started to sit down and write. My dad had a massive heart attack and I played at freelancing while I took him to doctor’s appointments, cardiac rehabilitation, and work. I’d lug my laptop around, settling down in an indie coffee shop to write, waiting for my phone to go off. That’s when Goodbye Mr. 7:45 happened. Also a love story.

Last year’s NaNoWriMo was hilariously fun. I wrote more in that one month than I had in a long time. 50,000 words is a hard goal to hit successfully. But I did. And I wrote a fake romance novel just to see if I could. Yes, there’s a difference between a love story and a romance novel. One is sweet and the other is over the top.

But I’ve noticed a disturbing trend with my writing. The more I engage in social media, the less I sit down and write. I blog professionally twice a week. I journal every night but even that has become sparse in content. It’s like I run out of words or run out of technology energy. I know I need to sit down and get reinvolved with my critique group. I want to write but words don’t come. It’s like facebook sucked them dry.

I’m now a writer but I don’t write.  Am I the only one who struggles with this?

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Comments
5 Responses to “It’s really too bad.”
  1. honnah says:

    NO! Oh my goodness no, Caitlin. You are not the only one and this trend (that in spending so much time on here, I can’t write normally & well) is just plain scary to me! I’m beginning to wonder if there is ever a ‘going back’? What is this (social media, constantly-on-hand gadgets and stuff) making of us??

    I wish I knew. I personally am doubly my efforts to 1) force myself to write and 2) not spend so much time on non-writing things! It’s hard.

  2. amkuska says:

    I wrote a blog post about creative muscle a little while ago. My theory is that like your physical muscles, your creative ones can become sore if used too much. Maybe you need to rest a while, and then pick what you want to do with the strength you have.

  3. GabbyMel says:

    For me, I’ve noticed the key to have thoughts pouring onto paper is to be reading more often as well as to be just sitting and enjoying things that bring back pleasant memories. 🙂 I love to watch cars go driving by and I wonder where they are going. In a way, every car represents a story, so if you could follow one, you would essentially have an easy story right there! 🙂 Sometimes for me, if I am genuinely connecting with people, then I can write afterwards. Other times, worship will bring it out.
    But I definitely understand what you are talking about. I have NEVER been inspired by facebook :).

  4. I think every writer goes through spurts like this – and my writing journey is very similar to yours – lots of writing as a kid and then on and off through high school and college.

    My theory: sometimes, we just need a BREAK from writing. Step away, do other things (though I know it’s impossible to stop writing completely). Try to come back when you have a fresh perspective. Read classic, compelling literature and let it marinate.

    Let your fiction writing be your escape (unless your a contracted author on a deadline, of course!)

    I know you are a great writer and maybe another NaNoWriMo will get you back into things! 😉

    If I can help in any way -I’ll be there for you!

    Love, 1/3 of the Diamond Girls.

  5. Jerah says:

    I’m eleven, and I do the same thing with my best friend that you said that you did with your cousin. We’ve done it with many books, and are still doing it. Both of us have the wild dream of getting a book published. We finish books, but never consider them good enough to even try to get published. But we keep working on our writing skills, and are getting slowly better.

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