Oh, my happy place. Puppers by my side, soft music, baggy sweats, and an urge to finally write again. To be honest, I haven’t not wanted to write. I always want to write. Sometimes, though, I get away from that and focus on what I should be writing. I have these self-imposed pressures about how I should be writing. While I think it’s part of my personality, I also feel it’s part of having a “blog”. Is my content relevant? Do people even care to read? Are people taking anything away from it or are they rolling their eyes at yet another word vomit post? These are all things I’ve asked myself when I’ve recently tried to sit down to write. I am a competitive perfectionist and in a world in which I can easily access thousands of highly successful blogs via my phone, it’s easy to put pressure on myself because I always want more.
I sat on a coaching call with a writing coach. It was our initial meeting so it was basic, get-to-know-you stuff. We chatted about when I started writing, why I write, what I write, where I want to go with my writing. As we dove into my past as a writer, I realized over half of my life has been spent writing. I’ll never forget the first time I saw my name in a byline in The Highland Community News, our city’s local newspaper. I was 12 years old and had just gotten picked up by the editor, Charles Roberts, after I had submitted a photo in their photo contest. I was hooked. I craved seeing my name published. I still do.
Writing has been this dramatic love affair, one in which I’m the self-sabotager pushing away an eager lover. When I look back on any trials in my life, I coped with writing. Whether it was journaling, writing letters, writing a blog–I was writing. When this woman asked me why I write, my answer was simply, “I love it.” I told her I love my job as a speech pathologist much like I love a family member and I love writing like I love a romantic partner. It’s passionate and exciting and thrilling. It’s infuriating at times but it’s my constant. I can always ground myself by sitting in front of my laptop and writing, even if it’s not for publication.
The poor, patient woman listened to me ramble about how much I adore writing and then asked what I wanted out of writing. “To write a book,” I responded quickly, kind of shocking myself. I told her I didn’t care if it was a manuscript that never sees life outside of my laptop, I want to write a book. We discussed our next steps together and said our “goodbyes,” promising to speak with each other soon. I had missed a call while I was chatting this woman’s ear off, so I didn’t have much of a chance to sit and digest what had been discussed as I returned the phone call and proceeded with the rest of my evening.
This morning began with an early workout, a surprise coffee guest, and patients. I went about my day, watching the Love is Blind finale whenever I had the chance. An early day meant I had the chance to get my nails done, so I headed to the nail salon. From there, I decided I had enough energy and drive to hit the gym again for a quick workout, just to get another sweat going, and I went about my way home. My mind was occupied for the entire night and day following that call. It wasn’t until I sat down at my laptop, inspired by the conversation yesterday, that I let it all sink in.
I sat, staring at a blank screen, watching the cursor taunt me as it danced upon an empty page. Shit, I thought to myself as I teared up. Why? popped into my head. Well, I don’t know why I’m struggling so you can imagine how frustrating this question was for me. I wanted to know why because then my Enneagram One personality would do what she does best, make shit happen, and solve the problem.
Then, I realized, it wasn’t why am I struggling. It’s why do I write. I had just poured my hopeless writer’s heart out to a complete stranger and yet, I was staring at a screen trying to think of a “How-To” article worthy of the masses. Right before I sat down to write, one of my closest friends said, “I just don’t feel passionate about anything right now.” As I sat with teary eyes, frustrated and having reached my F-bomb quota for the day, I stopped and took a moment to realize how rad it is I even have something I am this passionate about.
I then revisited that why, asking myself why I write. I was then reminded of a Mia Hamm quote.
“Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is a little girl who fell in love with the game and never looked back… play for her.”
– Mia Hamm
This writing shindig is not for views, to share information I feel people might find relevant, to pay my bills, to be able to say, “Look what I accomplished.” This writing thing is for 12-year-old Dani who saw her name in a byline for the first time. Revisiting that rather innocent joy reignited a fire, even if it’s one I’ll have to constantly stoke.
We all have these things in life we eventually turn into chores. Ugh, I have to go write. Ugh, I have to tend to my partner in XYZ way. Ugh, I have to workout. Soon resentment builds and our passions turn to chores, leaving us with ashes of the passion we used to have, dreams we used to dream, and paths unexplored completely because we lost the desire to venture down them.
Once again, this is 110% a self-serving post. It’s a post for Dani with a sliver of hope someone reads this and goes, “Yup.” Listen to good ol’ Mia. Homegirl knows what she’s talking about.