How hard is it to write?
I will say it right away, it is very hard. It has always been a daunting task for me. It took me 27 years to finally start writing (typing, really), and even now, I'm still not as convinced that I can do this properly.
From a young age, (as early as first grade), my family and teachers constantly praised me for how articulate I am in expressing my ideas and for being curious about the world. This was particularly evident when compared to my timid older sister who keeps to herself most of the time. Additionally, most of the people around me commented that I was very smart for my age and I talk like an adult giving inputs here and there. To put it simply, being opinionated doesn't even begin to describe it.
There were multiple instances wherein my teachers leave a note in my report cards saying that even though I have high grades, I am the most talkative one in the class causing my classmates to be distracted. During those times, I always feel embarrassed as it seems that I have no self-control and that it was a weakness I can't overcome. However, it was just a passing feeling. Upon giving the grades with those remarks, I usually go back to my never-ending stories and questions, and I continue to be me.
Going into high school, I learned that there are multiple ways to express yourself (not just talking). Back then there were various activities available to the students. We could join photography, videography, theater, and dance clubs. But most importantly, we can join the publishing club. In this club, we can ask for approval if our pieces can be published like poems, prose, short stories, and so much more. At the time, I have already created some pieces as part of our English class requirements. So that's how I started writing.
The first piece I wrote was a haiku during my second year. I wasn't impressed with what I did. It felt empty like it wasn't enough to convey what I want to say. Given that it was just three lines, I gave up. It just wasn't for me.
After that, we were taught how to write sonnets. Honestly, it was better than haiku, but it felt pretentious to me. I was so caught up with making the words rhyme. It felt like that was the goal, to make it rhyme, and I was not able to properly express what to say again. I remember having a notebook full of discarded sonnets and haiku.
When we were in our last year of high school, we were taught the concepts of mythology and the basics of how to write them. Unfortunately, I couldn't save a copy of what I wrote back then but it was the piece I enjoyed the most. I think it was a three-page story and it was about how the earth came about and how continents are divided. I can't remember what I wrote but it was an original, in the sense that I had no prior reading done about other myths. I don't know if that justifies it. Anyway, I submitted that paper and felt confident. I remember that our consultant who is assigned in reviewing all our submissions came to our classroom, and was looking for the person who wrote that piece. He wants to say that he was impressed. Unfortunately, I was on a break and couldn't talk to him to solicit any feedback.
Going back to the publishing club, the publishing will be done in our second year. All the students from years one to four will be submitting their pieces. None of those I submitted were picked to be part of it. Oh, my poor haikus and sonnets. Even though mine weren't picked, I wasn't despondent. Even I am not impressed with them. The sad thing about it was, the mythologies were submitted after the publishing of the book. Even if it did stand a chance, I wouldn't know.
I loved writing. I can express what I want to say and people won't no longer say I am too talkative or be embarrassed that I was talking too much. Only the people who read my pieces can react to my ideas and I am more than open to discussing such feedback. More than that, it was such an opportunity to be original.
However, after graduating from high school, I was no longer convinced that I should pursue writing anymore. I lost my confidence. Yes, it was a good way to express myself but I wasn't doing a good job so it didn't make that much sense. This was weird since no one said I was bad at writing, only myself.
Instead, I started reading. I mean, who can be bad at reading? During my university days, I was so hooked with reading contemporary books and poems where I learned about different writers and a bit of how they write. I was such a fan of Pablo Neruda and Sylvia Plath. At the time, I was still as extroverted and talkative as I was but I found an alternative to writing. It was so much easier as I don't have to lose confidence whenever I write poorly.
Sadly, even reading was hard to sustain. Going into the real world by having my first job, even reading became a challenge. It was not as enjoyable anymore and it felt like a task that I should be doing just so I can say that I'm doing it. Life happened and I stopped writing and reading altogether.
After almost five years, I started reading again. I started picking up my old books and I have been rereading some of them to refresh my memory to eventually complete the entire series. To make reading more convenient, To make reading more convenient, I've purchased a Kindle, which allows me to read comfortably anytime, anywhere. While I was reading, I had a realization that may be obvious to some but was not for me. I realized that my inability to write at the time, was because I was not reading or not reading enough. I did it separately thinking they were two separate hobbies that you can choose from. I thought what you needed to write was just a pen and paper. However, even though I have a pen and paper and my opinionated self, it was not enough. Aside from the creativity and the inspiration that reading books can give you, it will give you different perspectives that will help you write any piece may it be a haiku, a sonnet, or an actual story.
And so today, I am writing this post to say that writing is really hard even when you have experienced life, but is harder if you expect you can write just because you want to. Not everyone is gifted or genius. Practice doesn't always make it perfect. Sometimes you need more and when I say more, I mean more books and inspirations. It took me a while to learn that. I don't know if I'm 5, 10, or 15 years too late but I hope everyone can revisit their dreams and have a different perspective and realize it was just hard, but never really impossible.
This has been a long journey and hopefully, today starts my second chapter. The day when I can start writing, inspired by the world and all the books around it.