I’m an instinctual writer. I need a phrase or a train of thought to snag my attention in order to really write. This small piece might not turn out to be anything, and it definitely is nothing if I ignore the itch to sort it out, but my best writing comes through instinct. I don’t mean an example of my best technical writing or a piece that gets the most audience attention, but a piece that I will gladly reread for years with minor cringing. Generally a piece I am proud of, and consider “strong,” is one that give me some sort of epiphany while writing it. For my English classes throughout my education, this unreliability has created a serious problem. I’m very much controlled by my impulses, especially so back in high school, and if I don’t have something to hook me into the subject and trick me into writing, chances are the essay is never getting written, or it is/will be awful. In college that doesn’t fly, not really. While I’ve been sick I’ve been supposed to be working on 2 essays. I have the prompts, the interesting source material, and the patient teacher.
But nothing has gotten written.
Until FINALLY at 1am a day before one of them is due, I finally get that hook that catches my skin and all the sudden I get tricked into writing an entire paragraph in a text message to myself. Which then leads to me sitting at a computer with a cup of tea and a new playlist. And fighting with Word. Listening to a new album turns into looking up news on the industry’s reaction which inevitably leads to the rabbit hole of music videos. And then I’m falling in love with someone else’s words and I’m writing bad poetry of my own, and Oh! Look at that, all the sudden it is 4 in the morning and I haven’t worked on my essay at all.
Pardon me, I have a urge to… scrap-book??
When I was in high school I thought that perhaps I had manic depression.
I thought this for two reasons:
1) I’m pretty sure I’m a hypochondriac who leaps to uneducated conclusions.
And, 2) I go through these, very dramatic, artistic droughts.
Months of no inspiration or ideas that I’m even half excited about. I can’t seem to put word to paper, even if I have ideas. I suddenly can’t complete half started projects. I can’t draw, I can’t paint, I can’t focus on music or movies or tv shows. These droughts are what have triggered my instinctual “I’m not an artist” response, because whatever creative bones I have in my body are unreliable. I can’t seem to express myself when I have the energy and time to put into being creative.
It gets lonely, and can lead into cycles of depression.
And right when it feels like any artistic inkling I may have has gone; I get an overdose. Suddenly I have words that need to get written out, I have to paint, I need to sing, I need to cry, I need to listen to the same song for hours. Suddenly my daily schedule is interrupted with sleep deprivation and the repeated internal, OH! New idea! Sometimes it is such a frenzy that I will have multiple projects happening at once, and it’s unknown whether they will all get finished or if they will get left behind.
It gets exhausting. But I end up so thrilled to be creating again that I don’t notice how tired I am until I crash, and I’m in a drought again.
So how do I find a balance?
Now that I think about it more, I suppose a truer statement is: I am an unreliable writer. Instinctual doesn’t really make sense there. Maybe “unbothered” could work? I don’t know. It’ll come to me. Probably.
Whatever. It’s 4 in the morning.