This Has Been My Worst Year Ever

Okay, the first thing you should know is that the title of this post is both hyperbolic and misleading. However, a good writer knows the value of an attention-catching title, and thus it shall remain as it is, in all its dishonest and worrying glory.

This has not been my worst year ever in a general sense. In fact, all things considered, this has been a pretty good year. I needn’t go into details, but I’m reasonably happy with the way my life (again, in general) has gone over the past eleven months or so. No, this year has only been dreadful as it relates to writing.

Actually, it’s probably hasn’t been my worst year for writing either, when one considers the fact that I started writing stories when I was, like, five and didn’t finish any story of any remarkable length until I was thirteen. But it might very well be the worst year for writing I’ve had since then.

Here’s what I mean:

I’ve basically written nothing, either fictional or on a blog, since the beginning of August. I’ve written emails, some of them quite long. But that’s it. No posts. No books. No short stories. No journal entries. No poems, for pity’s sake. I didn’t do NaNoWriMo this year – I didn’t even try.

Before that (earlier this year), I majestically failed to write the book I’d been planning to write over the summer, gloriously neglected the other unfinished manuscripts sitting forlornly on my desktop, and most fabulously of all, actually started writing a short story which I never completed.

A. Short. Story.

Looking back at my writing exploits (or lack thereof) of the past year, I think I feel more like a failure than… than… than I don’t know what.

I don’t know what the problem is. I can’t give an explanation for this unprecedented writing slump. For reasons infuriatingly unclear to me, none of my ideas excite me anymore, none of my phrasing sounds right, none of my characters seem worth writing about, and none of my words are coming easily. Day after day goes by, and I watch more movies, and memorize more songs, and read more books, and yearn more and more to be a part of this beautiful world of creators and stories that I surround myself with – and day after day goes by in which I do nothing to bring about this dream, nothing to satisfy this consumptive, life-destroying yearning.

You may have gathered that I have a tendency to unintentionally wax poetic when I’m at the end of my rope. It’s possible that I sound rather melodramatic and pathetic at the moment (I have trouble being objective about my own writing, so I can’t be sure). And if I do – well, I feel pathetic. I feel really really pathetic.

You may consider this an explanation of my deplorable lack of presence on this blog. Or you could view it as a confession. Or some sort of cry for help. Or simply as an overly poetic, overtly emotional, overdue venting of some pent-up feeling, which is probably closest to the truth. What exactly that feeling is I’m not entirely sure I could say (uselessness? helplessness? anger? grief? Those words all seem too strong, but…).

I want to write in 2016. I think I want that more than anything else.

I guess time will tell if wanting it is enough.

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2 thoughts on “This Has Been My Worst Year Ever

  1. I’m going to give you some advice that will probably seem useless and impossible. Bear with me.

    Don’t freak out about this, Pearl.

    I know, I know. But stop your panicked shouting for a minute and hear me out.

    I went through this shortly after graduation. I wrote “The Last Phiditia” for school, and then…nothing. I researched agents to query for months, and that seemed productive, but no real writing. I didn’t write short stories. I didn’t edit Novel #2. I didn’t plan Novel #3. I didn’t think about writing. I didn’t want to write. I didn’t even really want to read.

    And I freaked out. Because, I thought, what if it’s been so long since I’ve been able to write, so long since I’ve been able to devote literally any time to any writing that I wanted to do, that I’m not a writer anymore? What if all that inexpressible joy that I got when I wrote wasn’t real, was just glowing in the golden haze of a fond memory? Worse, what if it was just a phase?

    It scared me, and I get why it scares you. It is scary.

    But it will come back. You will write again. You will read again. Your world will settle again, and it will be okay.

    Maybe it’s just that, right now, this year, whatever, you don’t need to write. Maybe this year, you needed to focus on your outside life, focus on friends and family and real life. Maybe this year, you just needed to focus on other things, and once all those other things are sorted out, you can focus on your books again.

    It’s not bad. It’s just different. And it will be normal again, eventually. Right now, just figure out what needs to be figured out and try to enjoy the experiences you’re having. You’re a high school graduate! These are some of the only years you won’t have a commitment to school or to work or to something. Enjoy it.

    -Cara

    P.S. That got way deeper than I intended. I feel like I have to balance out the universe with a well-placed and joyously snarky Scarlet Pimpernel quote, but I can’t think of anything relevant.

    “Yes, I like that line too, because, you see, I hear it’s true, and that gives the line a certain…something, which gives it a certain…something…Do I make myself clear?”

    1. Thank you. That actually does help. Honestly, even just writing this post and commenting on the others and whipping up a similar post on Everything Unreal has made me feel better and more confident (which should tell you how staggeringly little I’ve been writing lately).

      I keep telling myself that seventeen is a little young to be despairing over one’s unfulfilled dreams and that, barring some unforeseen disaster, I should have plenty of time for writing in my future. I think I’m starting to convince myself of it, too.

      And I have been focusing on other things. For example, I’m pretty sure that at the moment I have more friends, and closer, more trusting and healthy friendships than I’ve ever had before. I think that that’s something that’s just as important as having lots of completed and/or published manuscripts (probably more important, in fact) – and that that importance is something all too many writers forget to their detriment.

      So I’m going to be okay. I have a reasonable and only slightly wavery faith in myself and my abilities. I just needed to vent.

      P.S. A+ on the excellent usage of a Scarlet Pimpernel quote. The universe appears to be balancing beautifully.

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