In the past ten weeks (being term 1 of my third year of University) I finally got back into writing! So here’s a post about why and how that happened. It is a bit self-congratulatory, but I hope maybe you’ll be able to take some positivist away from reading on. Writers blocks don’t last forever, they just take a little confidence to clear, which might require a little help from your friends.
In first year I did a creative writing module which really took the wind out of my writing process, I was writing to fulfill someone else’s expectations, starting of a piece with an audience in mind, with a set word limit, and a set topic. This crushed my creativity and confidence in my work for a while, and only getting a C in the assessment was the icing on a disappointing and depressing cake. Recently though I’ve been writing a lot, most days really I write a few ideas, lines or complete pieces. I’ve written a good handful of poems that I’m properly proud of and although I know a handful of poems hardly makes me a writer it feels good to be actually writing again.
I’ve even been published in Lancaster University Flash Journal, where my poem was the editors choice for the new edition. I wrote that poem from a free write I did for my own enjoyment, which I think is what made it such a good piece. I had no expectations for it, I didn’t go into writing it wanting it to be perfect or publishable, I was just having a bit of fun playing with rhymes, and I only submitted it to Flash after getting a good reception for it at a Open Mic night. Open Mic’s have really helped to boost my confidence in my writing, I’ve attended the bi-weekly Poetry Cafe events on Campus, and last Thursday went to the Writers Society open mic. The poetry I’ve read at these events I did, in a small way, write for the events, or at least the open mic nights served as pressure cooking deadlines for my redrafting.
It’s been important to me to write for myself first and other people second. I used to love writing so much and I did feel a little lost when I felt like I couldn’t write like I used to, but now I feel like I’ve combined the rate at which I used to write with a bit more skill and critical understanding of the writing process. I read more variously now than I did five years ago, which contrary to teen-aged me’s idea that reading too much of other people’s work would make my work too much like theirs, has actually made my writing more original. I have a wider pool of reference for ideas now, and reading creative imagery and metaphors has pushed me to write more creatively.
Most of all for my change in writing-heart over the last couple of months I’m going to give a big shout out to the Lancaster University Writers Society. Critiquing other people’s work in a completely stress free way (unlike my 1st year creative writing seminar) has given me a lot more confidence when redrafting my own writing. Helping other people with their writing has helped me with mine, I feel inspired by other people’s confidence and creativity in a way I haven’t felt since I first listened to The Smiths when I was 13. (And the members are all a bunch of bants).