Stuck. Frozen in perpetual frustration, the moment my eyes look at my blank manuscript, littered with a sparse outline masquerading as something substantial. This is every time I open a personal scrivener project. For six years, I’ve felt the cold chill in my bones of writing something that might become a book. Finding myself as a writer on this scale has been much more challenging than anything I’ve overcome.
While there is an element of fear, as all creatives especially writers experience, I am not afraid of my talent or a lack of. I can comfortably admit that professionally, I’m an accomplished writer, which is entirely dependent on what your definition of accomplished is. I write words and the money pays the bills. I am comfortable and want for nothing. While I don’t drive a Lamborghini, I am successful in the sense where I am healthy, happy, financially stable and able to work when the inspiration peaks, unrestricted by typical office hours. That’s more than amazing for me. I spend most of my days working on client copy and fine tuning everything to make sure that they receive nothing short of the high quality that goes with my company’s unrivalled delivery, and I truly love what I do.
But all of this work for clients has awoken something deep within that was dormant. It feels like it’s time for me to really explore my talents and delve deeper into a part of me that’s hidden, obscured from view for reasons unknown. I am not afraid of writing or publishing, else this blog would have never existed. This space has been a part of my life for over a decade, overseeing my professional metamorphosis from event manager to marketeer to writer. There have been many articles that were published here that I cringe at the thought of, some I even deleted due to its lack of current relevance. Fear of being seen or of a lack of talent simply doesn’t exist for me, else I wouldn’t write and publish with careless abandon and public vulnerability for the last ten years.
My life is punctuated with deep emotion and my past littered with pain and trauma that no one should have to face. A question of my identity, my place in the world and my purpose persists, restlessly. Words are my weapon of choice. Though the weapon is sharp, and ready for battle, it seems my arm has a cryptic reluctance to wield such a weapon. Whether these are the reasons responsible for this reluctance are beyond me.
I am currently reading, nearly finished actually, Deborah Harkness’ All Souls Trilogy after discovering the television series last month. Over the last 4 years, I have been reading significantly more than years before, but this book series has really immersed me in ways I haven’t been able to disappear into sine I was a child. Fiction was a way for me to escape the world I endured growing up. I would slip away to faraway lands of impossible wonder, clutching to the hope that there was more in the world. As I got older, I was chastised for my incessant rumination and forced to leave that behind… until now. I have found myself with the magic of mystery and fiction awakening within me in the same ways that Diana found her magic awakening within her – only when she was ready for it, and only when she had her dark knight. The similarities between the lead character and myself were enough for me to accept this part of me and understand it was time to wield it, as Diana accepted who she was and learned to use her power.
My relationship with writing is very much like a relationship between a fairytale witch and her magic. Words can create and destroy worlds, and for me, it is the most powerful magic to have ever existed, since they can be used for love, hate, peace, war, blessings and curses. They can transport you to the past or future, this world or the next, and even the far outer reaches of the universe. Words can create monsters and heroes to slay them, swiftly suffocating the nightmares of children. Our stories passed down through families for millennia, carried vital information for survival from generation to generation, eventually becoming folklore and mythology. Stories of gods and great wars, of love and loss and betrayal, of heaven and hell, all to warn us of dangers and explain the unknown elements of the world at the time to ensure our success and survival as a species. There is nothing more potent than words. They are the fabric of our universe.
In the last month, I’ve felt the world around me coming to life in ways I haven’t experienced since I was a child. The swaying of the trees in the wind whisper softly, while the leaves falling tell ominous tales. I feel very much like Luna from Harry Potter, a bit wistful and airy, during these moments when life around me becomes more animated. It’s as though the world was always dull, and now that my playful writer’s brain is awake, the world is bursting at the seams with vivid colour. Everything has a story to be told; in every corner, inspiration lurks.
This year, I’ve felt a growing need to create something of my own. While the TILT agency is indisputably mine, the work is still at the clients’ discretion, no matter how strongly I feel about an idea. And while I do have creative outlets that I can dispel sudden bursts of energy, it is not sufficing the increasing need. At the turn of the year, I made a promise to myself to spend more time writing and dedicating some of that time to personal projects. I have done increasingly more writing, in fact most of my work now is just writing, but not enough in the personal space, which is where I can let my inner creativity run wildly amok. In the last three months, the nagging need to create worlds has turned from a minor annoyance or a ravenous hunger. All I want to do is write, and all I seem to be doing is not writing.
This brings me back to the issue of being stuck. I have this unwavering hunger to step into a blank universe and weave whole worlds together, punctuated with themes of love, loss, and hope. Past, present and future, woven into a patchwork quilt, to keep boys and girls, young and old, comfortable in their lives, decimating their nightmares and bringing their hopes into the light. This is what my spirit is yearning to do, but I’m often left frozen, as though I have been stunned by an invisible blow.
Am I trying to escape? Or am I trying to find myself? Or worse, am I trying to do both simultaneously? If you know me, you’ll know that the latter would probably be the one, since no path taken in my past has been a simple, uncomplicated route, so why should my search for myself be any different?
This paralysis must come to an end, else I’m left with two choices: bury this need deep within Pandora’s box and forget it, never to pick it up again, or allow it to descend me into madness, needing to create and being unable to. It’s time to be brave, to step into a blank universe and find the first threads to begin the weaving.