I honestly think a job in the creative field is one of the most challenging careers you can aspire to have.
To work as an artist, you have to have the ability to turn your creativity on and off like a tap. Until you develop that tap system, you have to force yourself to try to be creative.
“A writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.”
— Thomas Mann, Essays of Three Decades
Forcing yourself to create on a schedule is awful. There is no other way to put it. You have to sit down and stare at the blank page.
You must come up with ideas, start writing, only to delete them when they don’t work. Rinse and repeat.
There is a certain kind of masochism that comes with being a writer. It can sometimes feel impossible to translate the vivid, colourful scene in your head into black ink on white paper. Your world somehow always seems duller when you write it down.
I wanted to be a writer because I enjoyed the feeling of being swept away into books. I wanted to provide that escape for myself. I wanted to offer it to others.
When I was a little girl, my mother read Narnia to me. She would put on all of the voices and whisk me away to another world, one where I got to be a queen, where I got to talk to animals. She introduced me to a world where I could jump into a pool and end up in an entirely different place. Books, to me, became these pools.
“You can make anything by writing.”
— C.S. Lewis
I developed the ability to escape from any situation at any time by flicking open the pages of a new adventure. I could not imagine my life without all of the stories I hold inside me.
There is almost a calling to contribute, to give back to the world of literature the way that it gave life to me.
I have always wanted to be a writer. I want to give people that escape, that sense of wonder. I want to allow them to be people they would never be and learn things that they would’ve never learned if they hadn’t picked up that book.
So how do I write when my creative tap won’t turn on? How do I sit down and face my fear of failure? That’s what makes me shrivel up, right? The fear that I’m not good enough, that I’m not creative or descriptive enough. There is so much fear that accompanies my writing. How am I supposed to sit down and face it? How am I supposed to sit down and face it again and again and again?
“To survive, you must tell stories.”
— Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before
There isn’t much I can do to stop myself from facing it. I have set aside the time for writing. It is in my schedule. I feel as though I must do it… so I must do it. That doesn’t stop me from being afraid, but being afraid doesn’t stop me from writing.
Consider the classic training montage. The hero works out, learns to fight and makes some clumsy mistakes along the way. That’s what I’m doing right now, it’s significantly less physically active, but I’m practising my superpower. I’m learning how to write, describe and impact. I may not be good at it yet, but one day I will be.
When it is, you will see me on the bookshelf.