I Used to Be Creative

When I was younger, I felt things so deeply that there was no other option for me, but to write out my feelings. I would write poetry and prose. I would wake up eight times in the middle of the night–each time to add more to a poem I had started before I went to sleep. I would daydream and draw in class. I would spend an entire day starting and finishing a new novel I had just purchased–one that ultimately brought me to tears or scared the crap out of me. I bought books on writing and the writing process. I dreamed of becoming a famous author, of writing for a living.

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I still feel the ache of wanting to write. I have novels- and novels-worth of material waiting to be written, but I can’t seem to write anything of substance. What happened? I used to be so proud of my work. I would share my poetry willingly, and ask others for advice in my writing. Does it flow? Are the characters believable? What should I add or remove or change to make the story even better? Can you feel the emotion behind my poetry?

Maybe I’m scared to write. Scared of what may come out of me. I’ve worked so hard to fight past all the bad, and to break into this person who is caring and strong. What if my writing shows everyone my weaknesses? What will they think?

Or maybe I’m scared that it’s just not good enough. When I was in Middle School, I had an English teacher named Mr. Faulk. I will never forget him. We were doing a poetry unit, and I mentioned to him that I have a book of poetry that I had written. I brought it in the next day for him to read. I knew all the poems weren’t great, but I was proud of what I had accomplished. Mr. Faulk started his critique by telling my he really like a specific poem. And to tell you the truth, I’m not even sure which one it was, because his next words hurt so badly. “…but the rest really aren’t that good.” He handed back my book of poetry. I nodded my head, and returned to my seat. Embarrassed. Disappointed. Ashamed. Nothing like destroying a child’s dream.

I spend my days, wanting to be creative. Wanting to write. But something is holding me back.