If you are a writer, you almost never write. You experience things, things that are sad, happy, weird, funny and just plain real. However, if you are like me, you almost never open your laptop to write these experiences down.
It often goes like this; you feel a spark of inspiration, you rush to your laptop and open up whatever word processing site you use and then you just…stop. The blank page staring back at you yearning, begging you to fill it with ingenuity is daunting as you question whether you are up to the task of fulfilling its never-ending wishes. So you open your social media for “inspiration” and end up scrolling mindlessly through a haze of GIFs, memes and conspiracy theories until you look at your clock and realize you have spent the last 3 hours on Twitter and have written nothing.
You close your laptop and conclude that perfection cannot be rushed and a fresh start in the morning will do you some good. Pleased with this sense of closure, you reward yourself by binge-watching your favorite Netflix series until about 4′ o clock in the morning. That fresh start in the morning becomes waking up at noon with a headache and the minutest of desires to write anything. You lounge around all day, maybe see a movie or go out with friends. All the while, that spark sits in the back of your mind’s eye nagging you and eating away at your sense of self-worth as a writer.
This sounds more dramatic than it really is but a common plight of the modern-day writer is the existence of good writers. The writer today must fill the shoes left by the likes of Maya Angelou, WEB Du Bois, Richard Wright, Octavia Butler, and Amiri Baraka. Writers whose works left a lasting impact on generations upon generations and helped uplift the status of the writer in the eyes of society. The good writers of the past seemingly wrote prose, memoirs, poetry, and fictitious narrative with an ease and elegance that could only have come from the gods. I am not these writers. In comparison, I ramble and rush, bumble and blunder barely hit the mark and narrowly escape failure each time I open my laptop to write. Or so I tell myself.
That inner critic eats away at our willingness to tell stories until it does its deed and we stop writing altogether. You do other things. Go to work, go to school, read, go to a bar with friends, all while a little voice in the back of your head is just saying “Write,” over and over again. You ignore it and justify it by saying you are waiting until you are in the right headspace. But the truth is, you’re afraid. Is anything you write going to be worth reading? Is anything you write even worth writing? Days turn into weeks without looking at that blank page and you feel like life is moving so fast. Until one day you stop and look around. You realize that life wasn’t moving fast but that you were running. Running away from the very thing that made sense to you. So you open your laptop and you write.