Recently, I have been receiving quite a bit of praise for a skill I have been unconsciously cultivating for a number of years. Writing, for the most part, has always been a considerable part of my life; my entire life you could say. I developed a true passion for writing in the fourth grade because of a certain teacher who I can accredit with teaching me how words can be a gateway to expressing the thoughts I always believed would remain locked away in my head. At the time, I would hide away in my room jotting down short stories about the future I imagined for myself. Slowly, it became writing day after day about my wildest dreams, biggest insecurities, and strongly held beliefs. Writing was always my little escape; a blank page was the place I could return to when the world seemed too big and scary to walk through alone.
As many will come to realize, any habit you form will become a craft with time. I never spewed words on a page with the intention of becoming a writer; I simply did it because I would probably explode if I didn’t let them out somewhere. Yet, somewhere along the way, I started to notice how others viewed the messy regurgitation of words I never gave a second thought. I began taking this credit and transforming it — starting a blog, carrying pride in the poetry I wrote, and the essays on books I scoured for stunning syntax and intricate wordplay. Finally, I can take on the title… “Hi, I’m Ria, and I’m a writer”.
The issue for me though is that as much of a writer as I am, I can never seem to pen away the insecurities that come with that. Being a writer means having an ability that many would consider futile. Words will not save a life like a scalpel will. They won’t make you money like a patent will. And, you can write yourself into oblivion, but words can’t make the world a less foggy place. So, is there really any point to them at all?
It has now been a month since I published a blog post; two months since I picked up a journal. Typing every single one of my assignments in school due to a damaged nerve was something I considered a relief at first, faster and more efficient. But, I forgot the satisfaction that comes with an inky pen on a crisp page. I itch to write, but somehow… I can’t. It’s frustrating and painful to lack the ability to do what I love, both physically and in motivation. I hate that I can watch my fervor and aptness for writing fade before my eyes like an old photograph left untouched in a scrapbook. I still hear the validation, but it’s no longer enough because the only true measure of a good writer has nothing to do with how others read their work, but everything to do with their own satisfaction with each pen stroke.
People only appreciate words when they need them. Being a good writer is important because good writers can write good college essays, organized job applications, and touching speeches in times of need. They look to you to proofread the way they present themselves on a page, question what favorite books will look impressive on an application, even ask for synonyms like poignant, or capricious, or suave. And they’re impressed when you answer. Still, I cannot write. I cannot write any more than the girl who has lived in thirteen states or the boy who lost his brother last year. Being a writer simply means having a story to tell, and whether they realize it or not, every person has one.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have the recurring thought: I can’t write. I have sat down again and again, tried to tell my story, and wondered if I even have a story to tell. Nonetheless, words are infinite and, despite what anyone may say, powerful. They have the ability to change a thought process, a generation, an entire society. Only by valuing that power, can we catalyze a real change the world is lacking. Despite the fact that I cannot grip a pen, or have not yet decided on a college essay topic, I know that I can write and that fact will take me farther than all the skills I long for ever will.
“A writer is for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people” -Thomas Mann
Happy Living x