I’m a writer at heart yet I’m terrible at writing. Don’t get me wrong, I am able to produce good writing. In fact, my professional self is an excellent writer. From praise to good grades to paid commissions, I’ve taken every step of the way. Still, I can’t bring myself to write unless I’ve been given a reason to do so.
I’m a writer at heart yet I’m scared of writing. I’m terrified of carving time out to sit down in silence without a plan to follow or a person to guide me. I’m afraid of picking up a pen and wasting ink on a perfectly fine sheet of paper. Maybe it’s even worse to write on a laptop. Staring at a blank screen. Staring at the keyboard. Seeing all those letters that have the potential to create something magnificent. If only there was a way of stringing them together correctly. Yet backspace is the only key I seem to hit perpetually.
I’m a writer at heart yet I feel like an imposter when I call myself a writer. Looking around, everyone is always writing all the time. A text message, an Instagram caption, a business email. Sure, we are all “writers.” But how many of us dare to sit down to capture their thoughts or explore imaginative depths purely for the sake of doing so? And compared to that, how many of us prefer to immerse ourselves in someone else’s imaginative world, binging a new Netflix series or devouring a book by its pages? In other words, how many of us are consumers and how many of us are creators?
And I get it. It’s so much easier to escape your reality through a world that someone else has meticulously crafted, and decorate your walls with paintings someone else has put their heart and soul in. But if you’re anything like me, those things make you itch. Those things fire off this little voice in your head saying “isn’t this something you could do yourself?” And I try. But the second I sit down to write, my mind is blank. All these musings and ideas I’ve had? They suddenly just don’t sound so good anymore. My attempt of pushing through and creating something, anything, proves to be rather disappointing. Even distressful. It’s not bad per se – but it’s nothing that deserves to be called ‘good,’ either. In a way, it feels like a melody that is just slightly off but you can’t pinpoint what exactly is wrong with it. Some may call this a writer’s block.
And it’s tiring. It’s so tiring, it’s almost embarrassing. Because it doesn’t make sense. It’s frustrating. How can that one thing that you love so much and feel so drawn to put you into so much distress? And it’s even more tiring when you consume so many TED talks and Skillshare courses and read inspiring books and watch all these series and movies with amazing storylines that talk you into giving it a shot. It’s beyond tiring when you try to understand yourself and put your agony into words and confide them to your best friend just to receive a creativity pack and task “to do something creative every day” (thank you, Evi). It’s so tiring because despite all these frustrations and disappointments there is only one thought that persists: I am not meant to be a consumer only. I am meant to join the tribe of creators. Despite all, I’ve reached this point where it is more challenging to come up with an excuse not to write than just take a leap of faith and create.
The thing about writing is that it’s like an old friend to me. We’ve sort of always known each other, we have always been fond of each other. We’ve both gone our own ways at times but we would always cross paths again eventually. He was always there for me when I needed him and I tried my best to do the same. I guess you could say I cheated on him a couple of times. Ghosting, breaking my promise of going on a date with him, being a little friendly to other creative types. I did always have a thing for drawing and painting as well and was later on introduced to the mesmerising Adobe Creative Cloud Clan. After graduation, I had a casual on-and-off thing with Adobe After Effects and four months later, I found myself getting paid for creating little animations! Of course, I didn’t tell anyone that we were merely faint acquaintances, nothing more than a fling, but I knew enough to pretend to be in a long-term partnership. But after exploring and having a little fun and keeping in good touch with the visual part of communication, it feels right to go back to the roots and settle down for a while. To switch my pots of pigments and pixels out with making strings of letters, ready to embellish any mind that is willing to listen and grow.
Too often, I have doubted my creative abilities. Not the skill of writing itself, but the essential counterpart that makes any writing worth reading. Does that sound familiar to you at all? If so, I’ve got great news for you. I’m here to tell you that whatever you have learned about creativity previously is probably wrong. Growing up and attending school, we are automatically being sorted into standard boxes provided by society. The scientific one. The sporty one. The creative one. And don’t even get me started on the minimum intelligence barrier that is set at different heights. The truth is, we may not all be scientific or sporty but we are all inherently creative. If you are a member of the human race, you are creative. Because creativity is a human trait, if not even the most human trait in existence. Nonetheless, being creative can be scary but most vital in scary and dangerous situations. The only difference is when we are in danger, we don’t think, we act. On the flip side, having the luxury of time comes with the downside of having time to think and overthink. We’re missing the need to act or react. So instead, we’ll come up with all those excuses not to immerse ourselves in our own creativity until eventually, and rightfully, we grow tired of them.
My favourite compliment to ever receive is when people tell me how inspiring it is to talk to me. How they feel positive about taking on a new challenge, even excited to tackle a new project. In the past year, I somehow ended on what feels like an unfortunate detour on my path of “aspire to inspire.” But I’ve been working on it, on myself and now has come the time to work on my creativity. And if there’s one thing I’ve truly learned it’s that sharing your creativity and thoughts are part of the deal. So here we go, I’m back on that path of finding ways to embrace and share my creativity and untangle my thoughts. And I hope with time, I can inspire you to do the same, to go down the same path or a very similar one. To pull out that dusty creativity box with all these puzzle pieces that you stored away safely and to surprise yourself with what you can create with so little help. Or to be brave enough to learn that new hobby. To prioritise your growth and fun over the end result. To share it all with others and to spark them to try it themselves. Because the fact is, creativity cannot survive in a vacuum and creativity thrives when you share it with others.