I love writing; I really do. When it all comes down to it, the bottom line is that writing frees me, gives me power (or the feeling of control). And the flowing expression that becomes a product of my writing is something that makes it all worth it – to me, anyway.
I’m not an excitable person, really. Well, I am deep down inside, but I don’t show or share my emotions freely. And writing gives me that outlet; it gives me the opportunity of effortlessly becoming less reserved, less restrictive, and more transparent and… alive. I love it for that.
I don’t love it for the excruciating pain it brings in the form of frustration, procrastination, writer’s block, blank spaces, dry spells… and you get the idea (if you’re a writer). Some days, words don’t just spew out in nonchalant perfection, and beautiful sentences aren’t strung together as easy as they are read. Ideas don’t just pop out of the toaster, ready to be devoured and appreciated for all their innovation, like a convenient, toasty Pop Tart. Writing is painfully difficult mental work. And it absolutely drains me.
When I graduated with my degree in English four years ago, I was ready to take on the world. A month after graduating, I landed my first copywriting job and was not only thrilled, but relieved. Relieved because for four long years in college, the prospect of successful career opportunities in my degree seemed dismal. As a young, single mother with a four year old to support, my brain was clouded with worry that I wouldn’t be able to find a job in writing. But I did, miraculously. Once I began working as a copywriter, I started to learn the ropes of what writing for business was really about.
Four years later, I’m still in the copywriting field for different companies, and while my professional development continues to improve through my experiences, I’m sad to say that my “writing for pleasure” ability has dwindled to basically…nothing.
Sure, my life has been crazy, and I guess I could blame it all on that. And by crazy, I don’t just mean crazy. Everyone says their life is crazy. Mine has been an absolute rollercoaster of highs and lows, with virtually no middle ground. From illness to marriage to cross-country moves to graduate school to military life to death to pregnancy (and soon, birth), these are the life experiences that have sprung up on me, creating a tornado of this human journey depicting the ugliness and beauty of the world in all its shades.
But even still, I haven’t written for pleasure in what seems like ages. Writing, to me, has become about making money. It’s no less difficult; in fact, tailoring your writing to the expectations of a business with a target audience, is indeed very hard to do.
But what kills me as I sit here today and reflect on my life and current habits, is that I haven’t been able to write without being told what to write about, in what feels like such a very long time.
And a part of me is lost in that reality. And I would like to get it back, no matter how painful it will be. So yes, I have allowed copywriting to practically kill my creativity. I have done what I said I wouldn’t do…I have lost touch with my own voice.
And so today begins my journey back into the wild, wild wilderness of words.