On New Year’s Eve, two years ago, I published my first Medium article.
It wasn’t very good, of course. It felt momentous, and I invested a lot of my sense of self into the occasion. I had just published. Sort of.
Two years later, the magic is slightly worn. I haven’t written for most of 2020, mental health unwilling to risk new excursions or deep, reflective thought. It’s been a shallow year for me, flighty and vague. I’ve been comfortable, but withdrawn. Video games have taken the place of creation, flying the time by like dreams in hibernation.
My pride wishes I’d written more, of course. My first year on Medium boasted a good 50 articles — one a week, more or less. My second year was closer to ten.
What have I learned so far? Mostly that writing is a muscle, like most other skills. Ideas used to come to me, plentiful. What I thought would be difficult in the beginning, thinking of things to write about, proved the easy part while I was writing routinely. I have countless drafts in my Medium account, half written or even simply titled. Not all of these story seeds will be written.
In my time off, titles did not come to me. When I chose not to write, ideas about writing completely stopped, like I’d opened and closed some faucet in my mind. If I think about writing, some part of me must process these ideas in the background, presenting them at random to the surprise of my waking mind. While difficult at first, and difficult now, when in use my writing muscles respond easily.
It saddens me to learn that this talent is so fickle though. I was pleasantly surprised at how easily subjects could come to me — I am still horrified by how much work it takes to flesh them. Before Medium, I wrote only when it was easy. When I was possessed by some Muse, who had to be let out in a fury, writing an entire draft at once, one that needed no revision.
While writing routinely, this was almost never the case. I still chase that drug, the Muse, knowing how greatly I enjoy the ride. That Muse, that flow, has been responsible for almost every curated article I have to my pen name. It’s the closest I get to spiritual, those moments. Question or deny that inspired feeling, and the writing comes out wrong. Clunky. Unrepairable, no matter the revision. Follow my certainty, and I produce my ideal writings. The writings I believe myself capable of all the time.
Yet, I must admit this is not fully the case. My mood has too much sway over my creatings, something I hoped would fade with practice. Sadly, it so far has not. In a serious routine of writing, I create works I am not proud of. I write stilting, awkward articles with no point, or a confused message. I’ve reached a point where I keep an extra article on hand, for publishing during my period. I’ve resigned myself to working around that hormonal week in my month. Even if I was blessed with the ability to write full time, I think I would have to do so. Even editing comes out wrong in that frame of mind, too harsh. For so many other tasks in my life, quality would not be dependent on my mood, my health, my environment. It frustrates me that writing is not so.
Still, I see myself continuing, in the future. Currently, I’m hoping that releasing another article on New Year’s Eve, celebrating my two year mark, will renew my momentum and love for it. Writing is important to me, even when I don’t do it. I can honestly say that I have thought about writing every day of my life, though so many times I have ignored it.
I hope someday I can look back and think that I’ve finally done it. That I have written, and well. Routinely. That I’ve spent my time writing, like I was supposed to.
I hope it will be soon.