2016 was a year of many, many things. Brexit. Trump. My 22nd birthday. Moving to Scotland. Honours. 2016 was not, however, a year of creative writing. Not for me, anyway.
I don’t even know how long it’s been since I posted something here, and to be honest I’m a little afraid to look. The academic year of 2016 didn’t leave much room for creative writing, and by the time my dissertation was bound and submitted at the end of October, I didn’t really have much left in me to write. I attempted NaNo, against my better judgement, and gave up after a few days. There was nothing fresh coming from my fingertips, no characters I wanted to get to know, no world I wanted to explore, no plot I needed to get to the bottom of. So I just stopped.
I know that all (ok, not all, but some) of the professional super good writers say you should just write every day, even if that writing is absolute drivel, and that you most definitely should not succumb to writers’ block.
Here’s the thing. I have always loved writing, and for years and years it was this creative, wonderful pastime that made me feel nothing but joy. Now, I don’t know. I still want to write, I crave the process of creating worlds and words. I’m sure that I have stories to tell. I can feel them, just below the surface. But on the surface I feel stumped. It’s as though there’s some sort of mental block, something holding me back. Something that makes every scene I write feel wrong, every character I imagine feel shallow.
When I’m going through a bout of depression, the world feels 2D. I’m sure it’s cliche, but it does. I feel as though everything is made of paper, and that if I try hard enough I can see the light shining through it, or that if I just reached out and pushed everything would crumble. Well that’s how my writing feels. The worlds and characters that once felt so alive, so dimensional, so real, now feel false. It’s the same when I read, although not quite to the same extent. Perhaps my post-thesis reading slump has affected my writing. Perhaps it’s the other way around.
It feels funny to talk about this is such detail. But most of you who read this blog are writers, or at least readers, so perhaps you understand. If not, think of this as public therapy, getting everything off my chest to enable a fresh start.
Those ideas, the ones just out of reach, already seem a little closer.