I have been a writer my entire life. Writing, specifically creative writing, is one of the things I am most passionate about and is where I find some of my greatest joy. It brings me happiness, a sense of creativity, a feeling of accomplishment. So, if creative writing brings me all of this positivity and is easy to do with just my laptop or a notebook, why can’t I freaking do it already?
My aunt is an author and inspired me to write from a young age. She would buy me blank bound books and I would fill them with whimsical stories and poor-but-colorful illustrations. By the time I reached middle school, I had quite the collection of self-authored books. One of my favorites was entitled “Cats Know How to Build Sandcastles.” I remember the joy that I got from independent writing time in fifth grade and the passion and energy I put toward my story “The Woman with the Red Umbrella.” I submitted stories and poems to the youth magazine “Stone Soup” time and time again, and though I never was accepted, the fiery passion within me was never dulled.
In middle school I started writing my first novel, called “Nowhere.” The idea was one that I continued to develop, until the final iteration of many became a full-fledged storyline with dynamic characters, subplots, and settings that I could envision in my mind. The world around me became a breeding ground for thoughts and ideas – every person I interacted with became an inspiration for a character, every place I visited became a potential setting. Long car rides and hikes and the period before I fell asleep each night became my favorite times to think about tying up loose ends in my plot or introducing a new obstacle in the storyline.
I kept writing as I moved into high school, bringing my writer’s notebook with me to classes and jotting ideas down during homeroom or after finishing assignments early. Creative writing was my outlet, my energy source, my go-to activity whenever I had free time. I talked about my novel in my Common App essay. I took a creative writing class for no credit in high school and went there during my lunch periods just so that I could be filled with inspiration and workshop ideas with the people around me.
Writing all of this now makes me feel nostalgic for the days when this was how I would fill my free time. It wasn’t work when it was the thing that I loved to do most. Now, in college, I am inundated with so much work and so many assignments and projects each week that I dedicate my free time to turning off my brain and unwinding with an episode of TV or time spent with friends. I wish more than anything that I could go back to my high school mindset, whip out my writer’s notebook, and let the thoughts flow as freely as they used to. I still have the same novel idea in mind, and the iterations continue, yet even when I do hit a stride these days, they are rare and they fizzle out easily.
Why can’t I just do it? What will it take for me to get back to that passion? I still dream about a future as an author, traveling to book signings, getting to work every day doing what I love most and waking up each morning excited about what I can create. I’m following a career path that will hopefully allow me to have a similar sense of creativity, but I can’t shake this dream that’s always been within me about writing books of my own and seeing people excited to read the words that came from my mind.
Maybe there will be a time when the motivation returns to me naturally, and I don’t have to feel like I’m forcing myself to do what I love. I hope it does. I miss the worlds that I created.