A Writer’s Identity Crisis(es?)

Do you mind if I ramble a bit? Well, if so, go ahead and leave now, because I am going to do it anyway. In fact, I am going to intersperse my WHOLE workday with rambling on this post. Or, at least until I am tired of it or feel I have said everything on my mind and heart. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (for those who don’t know it, when someone says everything on their heart, it is bound to be filled with nonsensical emotion.)

As I have mentioned multiple times, so I am sure everyone is sick of hearing it, I am struggling to find the inspiration I once had for my stories. I go about this the way I go about pretty much all my goals in life. I try one thing, then, after I don’t get immediate results, I try another the next week (or day, depending on how patient I am feeling). I tried buying a whiteboard (like the one Castle uses?) to plot my books. After writing an initial outline of a story, realizing I didn’t feel passionate about the story at all, and leaving it on there for weeks, I wiped it and the huge whiteboard sits empty. Then I tried forcing myself to write 15 minutes a day, no matter what. That worked for almost a week. I forced myself to sit and write for 15 minutes, hated everything my pen put out, and then, one day, I was just too busy. Can you guess how often I have done that since? I tried researching subjects I wanted to write about. I read about writing books. I started an outline for yet another story. Finally, last weekend, I picked up an old favorite book I haven’t touched in years. Emily of New Moon. As I read, I felt my soul thrilling as it hadn’t done in years. As this girl wrote about her stories, or “flashes”, the Wind Woman, I felt drawn back to my childhood, back when everything was new and exciting and I, too, thought everything I wrote was beautiful. But, most importantly, I was drawn back to when I could pick up a piece of paper and write. About anything, about a sunset, about a sunrise, about a song, anything that gave me that thrill from head to foot, I would write about. Yes, I thought, this is it! I just need to read my favorite books and remember why I love writing! And then, as I read further, suddenly the effect the book was having on me . . . reversed. Oh, I still loved reading over the old, beloved words, and feeling thrills along with Emily, but, I realized how – old I was. Back when I used to read the books, I used to be Emily’s age. Whether it was the first, second, or third book, at some point, I was still her age, with similar dreams and ambitions. Now – I am significantly older than she was in any of her books. And I have this dreadful feeling that it means it is too late for me. I know I wrote about this in an earlier post not long ago, but though my brain knows it isn’t too late, my heart hasn’t caught up yet, and I have been struggling to fight off a singularly depressed feeling.

The thing is, I have this feeling that I want to go back to my childhood and recapture the innocent dream that all I have to do is love what I do and I will succeed – and my complete lack of doubt in my ability to write and that if I just kept going, it would all turn out. But maybe that is part of the trouble. One, part of me knows I can never go back to my childhood and I need to move forward from where I am right now – but I am terribly resistant. I want to go back to the stories I was writing at 13 and still write them, instead of finding new stories. And two, I didn’t keep going. Whether I want to admit it or not, I essentially stopped writing in college for four years. Well, I was writing essays and presentations, but, that hardly counts. Which brings me to this scary thought: What if I was wrong? What if writing isn’t really my passion and I just superimposed it on myself because of all the books I read nonstop? I mean, there has to be something wrong if I can just stop writing for four years, doesn’t there? And then I got all confused. I was so sure that God designed me to write.

As far back as I can remember, all I have wanted to do when I grew up was be a writer. Heck, I remember being 8 years old and reading the beginnings of my first novel to my older sister. Wanting nothing more than to write for like 15 years has to mean something, right?

Well, I am still trying to figure it all out. But, I have decided on yet another method to get my confidence and inspiration back. This time, I AM going to go back to my childhood. I have stacks and stacks of stories or portions of stories from before I went to college. So, my newest idea is to pull out one page from those stacks at a time, and rewrite it. I have this hope that if I can just get my creative juices flowing again, I will be able to look at everything around me as a story the way I used to. Or maybe God will use it to show me what it is He wants me to do – where He wants me to go from here. Or maybe pulling out the old pages from my younger years will remind me of why I started writing in the first place and help open my brain to new paths – new stories that fit where I am emotionally now, instead of the dramatic, tragic stories I used to write.

I have this horrible fear that I have wasted too many years and now I will die before I accomplish all my dreams. And my brain knows that the longer i am paralyzed by this fear, the more time I will waste, but my heart hasn’t caught up to that yet, and I have this hopeless feeling that it doesn’t matter anymore. I know, I know – that isn’t true. But since when does that help soulfulness?

If anyone has ever gone through this type of identity crisis, I would appreciate advice or scriptures on getting through it and how to move forward instead of looking backwards.

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3 thoughts on “A Writer’s Identity Crisis(es?)

  1. Perhaps you might find some inspiration on my blog home page about my writing journey and how I recently published my two books, if you haven’t seen it yet. Most of us have been there. 🙂


      1. You are welcome. I’m pleased that in some small way, something of it helped. I wish you all success in your endeavours 🙂


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