This is my monthly post for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group. You can join HERE if you’d like. It’s a good way to connect with struggling writers.
Write every day?
But I’m a student.
Time is not my friend. As a (wannabe) writer, it’s the thing that makes me the most insecure. I see posts all the time about how to get better at writing. As my theatre professor says, “Perfect practice makes perfect.” If I’m not practicing, I can’t possibly hope to improve. I was actually thinking about this last night. I’ve had a month to work on submissions for my school’s literary magazine. A full month. I drafted a piece here and edited a piece there, but in the end, I just had a lot of mediocre prose drafts that I maybe worked on for 4 hours in total. Maybe.
Where did all my time go?
I spend my life reading and writing for school. Right now, I should be working on my American literature thematic analysis paper for Hemingway’s “Big Two-Hearted River,” but I’m taking thirty minutes to write for myself instead, not to please an impossible-to-please professor. If it isn’t American literature, it’s my poetry class. I can communicate with everyone through my writing it seems, except for my professor. I’ve had to twist my writing style into something so mundane and despicable, that I’m beginning to hate it. And I’m hating my professor for what he’s done to my writing. He’s sucked out my voice and inserted his own.
One of his comments on one of my poems (which admittedly I didn’t like because I drafted it at 3AM) said, “You sounded like yourself rather than the angry presence of the poem. Don’t apply yourself to the text.” It’s a trivial comment, and he subtracted only one point from my overall score; however, this poem was about myself. I’m not an angry person. The poem wasn’t meant to be angry. I still don’t think it sounds angry. The voice is meant to be mine and people like me: lost, sad, confused, unwilling. I never read a poem like myself unless it’s supposed to be about myself, and it’s discouraging. I’ve gotten to the point where I never want to show people my stuff ever again. I just want to hide.
So if school isn’t making me MORE insecure and work isn’t sucking away my time, when do I get to write? Not breaks. I’m preparing a big presentation for a huge national convention and catching up on the homework I’m behind on. I have to start applying for summer jobs soon. And then I’ll be perpetually tired again. I’ll want to sleep or play video games or watch TV, something (anything) mindless to keep from thinking as much as I have to during the school year.
School has made me a better writer; I’m not going to lie about that. I’ve found my literary voice. I’ve discovered new writers. I’ve gotten to experiment with form. But at the same time, school has killed my muse. I’m obsessed with my grades. I’ve got a great GPA, and it probably won’t amount to much in the future, but I’m proud of my 3.96. But I wish I had more time for myself and my writing.
I barely find time to blog once a week let alone write every day. I had the time yesterday evening, but I was so tired, I sat in my bed, watched YouTube videos, and passed out for 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep. It was wonderful. I had a lot of plans for this year. I was going to hammer out a draft for my first novel, but right now, I’m struggling to hammer out three short papers and one poem a week.
Please tell me there’s a light at the end of this tunnel?