The War Was Won?
In my last blog, I talked a lot about the war I had in my mind over whether to keep writing and stay in Ohio, or to give up and go home. At the time, I thought the war was over and that writing had won.
Turns out, the war was far from over.
Over the last two weeks I got to go home and see family and friends for spring break. I had a lot of fun hanging out with the people I loved and missed so much since moving to Ohio, and a large part of me dreaded leaving them again and returning to the stress of balancing work, life, and writing projects.
A few days before break ended, I found myself lying on my bed and staring up at the ceiling when a question popped into my brain.
“Why do you even write?”
This isn’t the first time I’ve asked myself this question, and in the past I would just remind myself that I was called to write and that questioning my calling was a stupid thing to do.
But with all the pressure, stress, and fear I’ve been experiencing, I realized that this time I needed a really good answer—an answer that didn’t feel cliche or hokey every time I said it. I was worn out and tired of putting my all into my writing, of feeling like I can’t even breathe, and being away from my family.
Why was I putting myself through so much when just a few years ago I never would have even considered writing as a hobby, let alone a career? Was I good at writing? Did I even like writing?
At first, I didn’t have an answer, just the realization that there’s never been a moment when I didn’t have some writing project or assignment to work on.
The Insecurities Within
In fact, thinking back over the time I’ve spent in Ohio, all I could see were weekly routines and cycles of rushing to meet deadlines for projects, and a lot of frustration when I couldn’t seem to work fast or hard enough to keep up and get everything done the way I wanted to.
From the very beginning I felt inadequate—not only as a writer, but as a person. All because of what I didn’t accomplish, or because of how long it took me to do what I did accomplish. But I was busy, so I didn’t have the time or energy to deal with those thoughts—and even if I did, I wouldn’t let myself.
Instead, I pushed the thoughts and feelings to the side, unaware that they were piling up higher and higher with each new project I started or routine I struggled to keep.
“Do you even like writing?”
I thought about that question for a while, trying to come up with an answer. I knew the answer had to be yes, but all my thoughts were tangled up in a mess of fears, insecurities, and doubts that I’ve been carrying for years.
The truth was that sometimes I didn’t like writing, and during those times, I had to force myself to write. It wasn’t fun, it wasn’t enjoyable, but it had to be done. Routine. Day after day, week after week.
So why did I do it? Other than stubbornness and the determination to follow God’s leading and not listen to what other people thought, what was really driving me?
I started thinking about all the stories and projects I’d worked on since I first started writing a few years ago, and how I felt when I worked on them. There were many projects that I hadn’t enjoyed, but had learned a lot from, and there were even more projects that had excited me to the point that I couldn’t wait to work on them.
A Routine Issue
That’s when I realized that my problem wasn’t whether or not I liked writing. The real problem was routines.
I was stuck in a routine, doing what I had to do without even thinking about why I was doing it. My work had become mindless and I lost sight of why I love to write.
Yes, God called me to write, and yes, I love writing even if I don’t always like it. I love creating stories, poems, and songs. I love when copy that I’ve written works well and sounds good. The process of how a single idea or premise can be turned into an entire book fascinates me.
The War Still Rages
The war still isn’t over, and I doubt it’ll ever end for as long as I live. Every time I get stuck in routine and forget why I write, I’ll probably struggle with thoughts of giving up or finding an easier path.
But now that I’ve accepted that the war is ongoing, I know that when I start having these thoughts, I just need to remind myself of why I’m doing this. Not just because it’s my calling, or because sometimes I’m really good at it, but because I want to do it.
God may have set me on this path, but I’m the one who chose to walk it—because I love it. And I’ll have to continue to make the choice to keep walking the path every time I’m tempted to step off.
Before You Go…
What have you been tempted to give up on? What keeps you going?
Let me know down in the comments!
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Thirzah, this post was so well written. Great job being vulnerable and conveying your experience so we can al learn from it.