I would like to say I don’t write, but the thing is, I can’t write. I can’t even manage a blog post these days, and that was a thing I thought I could do. Well, I like to believe I can, though it is rather humiliating to be asked to attend a workshop on writing blog posts by people who don’t even blog.
But, this half-hour free-write is not about blogging. It is about writing, in general, by me. I’m not very creative. As in, not the quality of creativity which I can’t quantify, but the quantity of creativity this year which, well, doesn’t really qualify. I sometimes come across an old post and think, “Oh, that was clever. Did I really come up with that?” which is not a healthy thing for a growing writer to think. A healthy writer should not bask in former glories – that is defeatist. A healthy writer should cringe, should edit and re-edit, and re-write the whole thing if possible. That’s the only way you can keep going, you can keep enjoying whatever facility you have for being creative. That is true for wherever you are in your game – amateur, dreamer, struggler, winner or has-been. If I were any good, a word for a has-been that ends with -er would have been at the tip of my typing fingers as I finished that previous sentence.
Some people equate creativity with age – that you are at your freshest and most powerful up until the age of twenty-five or so, which is why your brain also absorbs information and picks up skills faster at a younger age. On top of that, apparently anxiety and depression decreases your intelligence, and hypothyroidism, among other things, also makes you stupider. Brilliant. I’ve got so much to fight against, so many well-funded, sensationalist studies to prove wrong. And what does my brain do to defy science? It orders my body to curl up under a blanket and watch Vlogmas videos on YouTube.
I’ve not written or done anything creative lately just because I haven’t felt like it. I haven’t been – wait for it – inspired. There you go, some further cringe-triggers for you to go with your coffee. Maybe I won’t stretch things to inspiration – some Muse sitting on my shoulder dictating lines I can pass off as my own – but I do believe, as though it were a religion, that you need to create an environment in your mind for creative work to happen. In your mind, I tell you, so don’t go out and buy those pretty tools and furniture just yet. The easiest way to get inspired – to want to do something – is to consume things you’d like to make. Not literally eat them up unless you’re a chef, but watch films if you want to make films. Read if you want to write. Watch people dance if you want to learn how. And not stay at the passive stage of watching, but participate. Get that urge to ‘do it too’, like you used to.
I have to admit two extremely snobbish reasons for my non-writing – I want to write proper stuff like novels, and I think I’m at that stage in my life where if I don’t give it a proper try, I might never find out if I can. I’m too greedy, too fattened up by dreams, to say I’ve only ever wanted to be a writer. No, I’ve wanted to be a great many things, but currently, writing seems to be the only option worth living for, and one that I might be allowed to live for if I’m good enough. But, that hunger is not good enough, because desire isn’t enough to get you through. It is good, solid, undoubtable work (a better writer would have a better word than ‘undoubtable’). And luck, yup, some good old classical Fate, that can get you where you want to be.
Both these reason are such extremes, but as the very inspiring William Blake wrote, “Without contraries, is no progression.” At least, I’ve written them down. These feelings that have prevented me from writing or in fact, doing most things I enjoy. You’d ask me to take it easy. To neither have high ambitions, nor deep doubts. Choose a middling, humbling, working path, as all good artists do. But, what I have done is tried not trying at all. All my life, I’ve written something or the other nearly everyday, whether it is seen by eyes besides my own or not. This year, I haven’t bothered. But, the very fact that we’re having this conversation means that I haven’t given up completely either. So, thanks for listening.