I’ve been writing with a lot more confidence lately. I’m not sure when it happened, and I’m not entirely certain why, but it’s there and I’ve definitely noticed.
So what do I mean by writing with “more confidence”? I can tell you what it doesn’t mean… that somehow my writing is better, or at the very least different. It’s not like the words on the page have drastically more impact and panache than they did before. No, it’s something else, something less tangible.
In the past I felt like my writing was a race. Some sort of contest to free myself from the confines of a career that wasn’t rewarding me the way I wanted. I felt as though I was drowning. Like I had something to prove but would never be able to prove it.
But these past few weeks have been different. That stress is gone. I don’t fee like it’s a race anymore. It’s simply a possibility. I don’t feel like I need to prove myself. As if there is something to escape.
When I write now, I’m not scared to take a chance. To cut something out. To simply acknowledge that the words I’ve written aren’t good enough, and start over. That’s not something I could do in the past. There was this ever present fear in the back of my head. And now… that fear is gone.
I think sometimes as writers we live in a fantasy world where we think that our writing should be separate from our personal lives. That somehow when we sit down at the page, we should be able to block out our the problems, stresses, and every day strains on our lives. Like somehow there is an “off switch” in our heads for all the background noise of our lives. But this simply isn’t true.
We are what our lives makes us. We are emotional creatures, not robots. And while we can sometimes channel our personal lives into what we write, we can’t ignore that our personal lives effect what we write. There is no off switch.
So why the change for me? Why the pivot? I think a lot of it has to do with my recent promotion at work. I’ve spent the greater part of the last five years playing catch up. Striving to reach a point in my career where I felt was slipping away. Making up for lost time. And I felt like I was losing. There are a finite amount of management positions available. And if you can’t get one by a certain age, it gets harder and harder each year that goes by.
There’s more to it than just my promotion, but I think that definitely plays a big part. Without the emotional overhead of feeling like “time was running out”, I’ve been able to use that energy for my writing. Sure, there’s still plenty of stress in my life. But it’s not the same as before. For some reason, the emotional stress I had been under for several years has just evaporated. And that stress seemed to be a big blocker for me creatively.
It’s weird… you don’t always realize how some things are connected until you can see the end results when something is changed.