When Writing Isn’t Fun Anymore

I was watching a documentary yesterday about the modeling industry and one of the women being interviewed said something that I’m still thinking about. She said when you go through life being known for one particular thing {beauty, intelligence, a particular talent) then it can be quite devastating when you try to pursue a career in that area and find yourself faltering.

She was referring to people who are told all their lives how beautiful they are and how they should be a model. So the person begins to believe they are beautiful and attempts to build a life and career based on that belief only to be met with rejection by the modeling industry. Now everything this person believed about themselves is taken away and they’re left questioning who they really are and what they’re really good at.

This really resonates with me when I think about it in relation to writing and creativity. I’ve been told all my life that words are my thing, my gift. So I started writing and believing I would be successful with sharing words and stories. Sometimes I am; most of the time I’m not. I’m always surprised by how much it bothers me when my writing falls flat and fails to reach people in the way I hoped. I take it to heart because I believe writing is a part of who I am and I’m putting a part of myself and my heart out there every time I bleed words onto the page. It feels personal when I put my heart on the line with writing and people hand it right back to me. It makes me question who I am and what {if anything} I’m really good at if this isn’t it.

I’m not saying any of this so you will feel sorry for me and leave comments telling me not to worry because you think I’m really great. Actually, please don’t do that. My intention is not to feel sorry for myself or to garner pity. I just think it’s an interesting thing to think through.
This has me thinking about how I see myself and how much I allow other people to speak into and influence who I think I am and what I think I’m good at. It also has me thinking about how much I let my expectation and the expectations of others influence the joy I take in writing and creativity.

“Where I create, there I am true.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

I used to enjoy writing and creating more before people were watching. Originally words and creativity were just things I pursued because they brought me peace and pleasure, not because I felt the weight of proving anything by their merit. Blogging has changed this in some ways.
Blogging gives me a public platform to share my words and pictures and allows me to connect with others—and I love that.
But blogging also means I notice and take to heart every time my words or pictures fail to connect with others and I end up second-guessing myself instead of just enjoying the creative process for its own sake. I lose the joy of creating when I let the stats, the likes, and the comments define whether my words have value or not.

“It is both a blessing and

And a curse

To feel everything

So very deeply.”

In the end, I’m not going to stop blogging just because it can be a little deflating sometimes. I probably need to be deflated sometimes :] What I need to work on is how much I let my writing and creativity define who I am and what I’m worth. I can’t build my whole life around the expectation that I’ll excel at this one thing and then lose the pleasure of creating just because I sometimes fail to connect with people in the way I was hoping.

There is so much more to creating that just succeeding. And perhaps the worst failure of all would be to succeed without having enjoyed the creative process itself.

 

37 thoughts on “When Writing Isn’t Fun Anymore

  1. I’m sad to read this post and see that you’ve been discouraged. Sometimes stats and likes are not very encouraging, but I also think your blog is not like other blogs. You always give a person something to think about and that can’t always be measured in likes and stats. Your blog is part of a bigger picture – sowing seeds, as it were – and you may not see the fruits of your labour until far into the future. This may not be very helpful right now, but please don’t let the stats spoil the joy of your creativity. I have always thought your posts glorified God, the One who created words and language and gave them as gifts.

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    • Thanks so much for your encouragement. You’re right about the stats, even though they can be helpful at times, they can also be really distracting and discouraging. I think I need to just ignore the stats for a bit and simply focus on writing and sharing what I love.

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  2. What’s up with this? Unless you had a book deal fall through that you were expecting to pay for your house remodel, I’m not sure where you are coming from with this ‘failure’ thing. I’m thinking, just a pregnant lady having a teary moment. Well stop it.

    Everyone’s blog is different. Your’s is definitely ‘from the heart’, and your joy is ours to enjoy. Just think… soon you will have a new subject to take photos of and write about… I for one am looking forward to those stories.

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    • Ted, I have to admit that I always look for your comments on Kari’s blogs. You keep things light and entertaining while making some very strong points. Thanks for your encouragement to Kari, I personally think she is a very gifted writer and a pretty special person as well.

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    • “Just a pregnant lady having a teary moment. So stop it.” ???

      Yikes. I think she explaned herself fairly well:

      “I’m not saying any of this so you will feel sorry for me and leave comments telling me not to worry because you think I’m really great. Actually, please don’t do that. My intention is not to feel sorry for myself or to garner pity. I just think it’s an interesting thing to think through.
      This has me thinking about how I see myself and how much I allow other people to speak into and influence who I think I am and what I think I’m good at. It also has me thinking about how much I let my expectation and the expectations of others influence the joy I take in writing and creativity.”

      Many times my blogs are also a bit misunderstood, ie when I write about dealing with fear, and then for a week, friends are saying “what are you so afraid of, honey?” (like they never deal with it) while the point of the blog was to be real because most folks are not, and to show where I go when I do feel fear. And the best writing is real and raw and to consider where our esteem is born from are deep things to think about. Great post.

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    • I have to admit Ted, when I first started reading your comment I thought you were yelling at me and I was a little offended but by the time I read to the end I was laughing just like I usually do when you comment :]
      This blog is very stream-of-conscious so sometimes you get me on my best day and sometimes you get me on my worst. I’m thankful for all the readers who stay on this ride with me either way :]
      Yesterday I was feeling a little deflated but I was also realizing how important it is that I write, create, and share just because I love doing so and can’t let stupid little things keep me from enjoying this space.
      I almost didn’t share the post at all because I was afraid it might come across as a self-loathing pity party…which is not what I intended. But decided to go ahead because I figured there were other people out there thinking the same things and it’s nice having a conversation about common thoughts and feelings.
      Good hearing from you again as always :]

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  3. With blogging there is freedom to create. One thing to keep in mind is that people read but don’t necessarily click the “like” button or leave a comment. For instance, I read this quickly last night and was glad I had time to read it again this morning and make this comment. I enjoyed it so much I kept it tabbed on Safari. But I might not have had time. With all I juggle the time just isn’t there.
    This needs to be a place to enjoy. To be transparent, but to enjoy. Plus, I find our community of WordPress bloggers are so accepting of our best as well as maybe not our absolute best. They love us anyhow! Your writing success is not measured by “Likes”, comments, or stats. The following absolutely resonates with me, and I’m sure everyone else.
    “What I need to work on is how much I let my writing and creativity define who I am and what I’m worth. I can’t build my whole life around the expectation that I’ll excel at this one thing and then lose the pleasure of creating just because I sometimes fail to connect with people in the way I was hoping.
    There is so much more to creating that just succeeding. And perhaps the worst failure of all would be to succeed without having enjoyed the creative process itself.”
    You said it all in those two paragraphs, and that last sentence is perfect. I think we all need that reminder.

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    • Thanks for the encouragement, Alexandria. You are right, this space really needs to be about enjoying writing and the creative process and that can’t be measured by likes and comments. I do the same thing sometimes where I read something I really enjoy but don’t always take the time to comment…so I can’t complain when others do the same here :]

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  4. And yet, we continue to wake up and be who we are, whether anyone understands that day or not. I have more “not” days as well – or at least it seems that way to me – but I have decided it doesn’t really matter. I just need to be me. Thanks for this piece!

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    • I’m trying to remember this space is really just a public journal of my thoughts and photos and I can’t let what others think define or determine what I do here or how much I enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  5. Look at the conversation you started. Truly you and we are not alone in our thoughts on writing and connecting with others through our words. But beyond (or before) the connection is the creation. You need to create and we share that with you. I sit here at my desk with notes spread out on blog ideas and that bigger story I want to write. Thank you for your post today. It helps as I set my mind to create today.
    All the best – Michael

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    • I hesitated in sharing this post but it’s nice to see I’m not alone in this and it is really nice to have a conversation with others who feel the same. Best of luck with your own creative work today :]

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  6. I can definitely understand. I have made French the focus of my studies and future career. Now, I’m hitting the big leagues as I continue in grad school, and I’ve already been told by my advisor that I have got to fix my pronunciation if I ever expect to get a job in the field as an academic. Ouch! Talk about deflating! She wasn’t being mean, just honest.
    In regards to writing, I feel much the same way you just expressed. But, if it’s any comfort, I had a prof once say that it takes a very special, talented person to be able to take thoughts and ideas and form them into words and expression. In other words, anyone can think, not everyone can write. Writing is just as much of an art form as painting or drawing in my opinion. It takes time, practice, and inspiration. 🙂

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    • Thanks for the encouragement and understanding of where I’m coming from on this. I’m learning to just take pleasure in the words and creative process itself and trying to remember that is enough even if nothing else comes from it.
      Best of luck with the French! We went to Marseilles last June and I really don’t think there’s a more beautiful language in the world than French…it sounds like poem.

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  7. As I like to say: “I like to know, but I hate to learn.” But a lot of my successes would never have come without the painful failure that came with the learning process. Sometimes I get deflated when I think a picture is really good and I only get about 5 or 6 “likes”. There are times when I eventually take another photo that makes me realize the first one wasn’t all that great or maybe I decide I’m still going to like it anyway. The hardest part for me is avoiding the feeling of taking a picture and immediately wondering how many “likes” I’ll get. Gotta keep just enjoying myself somehow…and doing that pesky “learning” thing.

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    • I do the same thing where I want to know something without actually taking the time to learn it. But I’m def learning, especially with photography, that being able to get just the results I’m hoping for is totally worth the practice and effort it takes to learn. I’m learning too to just enjoy the process and not let myself get completely focused on stats and results…that just takes the fun out of it.

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  8. After trying freelance writing in my younger days and collecting far more rejection slips than published articles, I much prefer blogging where I can say whatever I want and there are no editors deciding whether or not it will be seen. I’m like you, though, in that I sometimes focus too much on what the Stats page is saying and whether or not people are liking or commenting on my posts. I’m so glad you’re not going to stop blogging! I was a little afraid of that when I saw your title.

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    • You’re right, one of the great things about blogging is being able to say what you want without worrying about editors and such. Sometimes I lose focus on why I have this space and let it discourage me but I’m trying to look at it simply as an open journal where I record what I’m thinking and learning with words and pictures. If people join in on that journey, wonderful. If not, oh well, I still have this record to come back to and I can still enjoy the process…which is hopefully enough.
      Hope you and your family are doing well with everything that’s been going on lately!

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  9. Bravo! You have managed to put into actual words the way I think of blogging, stats, likes, and silence. When I have tried to say this it usually is in grunts and non words. I have a love/hate relationship with my stats page. Fortunately, in a way, the most likes I have ever garnered was 66 one day… most days I am lucky to get six or seven people to read what I have written. Those little numbers on the stat page, though, can either build you up or you question why you have bothered. But, this I do know, I am writing consistently and I may never end up on the bookshelves of Barnes and Noble, but I am writing and leaving my words to someone who may really need to read them and never comment. Thank you for this post, hope you are feeling well Mama… ❤

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    • I do the same thing, read and never comment. I’ll usually click the “Like” button, though. But not always. Some stuff is worthy of more than a “Like” but needs a comment as well so I’ll just read it, knowing the stats will show a visit.
      One more thing, I’m not sure the stats are caught in the reader as I have had “Likes” and no stats. Not sure what’s happening with that.

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    • I agree, Dear Friend, writing really should be more about the love of words and what you’re leaving behind for others than it ever is about the silly stats. I always enjoy this space more when I stop worrying about whether it’s making me popular and just do it because I love it instead.
      Mama is feeling well :] Almost into my 3rd trimester already…amazing {and terrifying} how quickly he’ll be here!

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  10. My first instinct was to say PLEASE keep writing! I love your words and pictures, but art is an expression of your very soul, and writing is certainly an art and therefore it should bring you joy. It should be looked at as a pleasure not a chore..when it becomes that it is no longer art. I would also remind you that for me at least your writing is only one facet of who YOU are…there is so much more to Kari. 🙂 Hope you find that joy of writing all over again.

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    • Thanks mom :] I’m trying to remember what’s really important about writing and having this space and not letting myself lose the pleasure in creating along the way. Thanks for always cheering me on along the way :]

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  11. I understand that feeling of pressure those kinds of words can have. I’ve had to remind myself that this blog is not primarily about getting the most views or creating discussions but it is about expressing myself. Writing creatively is even more difficult when you feel like you are being forced to and so you just have to let your own self lead the way.

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