So I should probably change my domain name to “hannah never writes” or something more fitting, because yet again I have neglected writing for writings sake.
A lot has changed in life. I have a new job that doesn’t kill me to wake up and go to. I actually enjoy it, and it means I get to be surrounded by books 5 days a week, which at one point in time was a dream come true for me! I’ve become a little more comfortable in my own skin as well as in my general environment, but motivation is still a daily struggle. Especially motivation to write.
I word vomited my previous post whilst in the middle of a black hole mood. At one point in time, world building and new characters and whole story lines with twists and turns used to come easy to me. Now all my brain seems to be able to churn out is thoughts and feelings and emotions. I’m not saying that’s bad, but it’s like a mentioned before- is that all I am capable of?
I’ve jotted some ideas down and written small chunks of stories here and there, but nothing that sprouts from my mind to my fingertips really feels like something I want the world to see. I want people to see my writing- but at the same time the very thought of people reading even these very words makes me want to barf.
So yeah, I’m still terrible and I still have the same reservations that I’m trying to work around. With that being said, let’s look at a project I started and then abandoned recently! At least I’m sharing it, right?
First up is a short piece of fiction that I began for a competition that I never entered. The theme of the competition was Censorship. My mind first went to the idea of found documents with parts blanked out, but then I thought that an idea like that was a bit predicable, and god forbid I do what I thought everyone else would do. Instead my mind drifted to censorship of the self- all the ways we censor and change ourselves to fit our environment. Here’s what I came up with:
Who are you really? Every morning you wake up and you change a hundred things about yourself. Some of them big and some of the small. You hide your true self- twist and morph it into something for other people to consume and be pleased by. Who are you, when you look in the mirror and don’t alter one single thing staring back at you? What would be left, when you took all away every part of yourself that you’ve altered to fit the wants of someone else?The Censor – Draft 1
Every day you are told that something about you isn’t right. Maybe it’s one thing or maybe it’s ten. The number doesn’t matter, you still hide it all away, no matter the cost to yourself. Never asking yourself why. Never wondering if everyone else is doing the same.
Even though I had a goal in mind, to me it still just read as word vomit. It was fuelled by my personal feelings, and I thought that would make it good. But for whatever reason, when I read it back, it didn’t resonate the way I wanted to. To me, it just read as someone complaining about life, and that wasn’t what I wanted.
How can I change this up? I thought. I still wanted to come up with something. The word limit for the competition was 2000 words. At first, it didn’t seem like a lot, but the more I tried the more I struggled to reach it. I tried changing perspectives and going for more of a narrative style. I kept what I’d written so far, reluctant to discard of it even though I wasn’t sure I liked it. I then continued the piece:
Except now you do. You look around at the other people in the waiting room. Most of them are dressed similarly to you. Or perhaps you are dressed similarly to them. A sea of grey and white and light brown. A uniform monotone. You’re both relieved and worried that you don’t stand out.The Censor – Draft 2
You glance again at the door to your right.
The previous candidate should be out any moment now. They’ve already been inside longer than most of the other people you’ve watched walk past you. Only by a few minutes, but sometimes that was all it took.
You pull at your sleeves as you wait, trying your best not to pick at the skin around your fingernails. There’s a slight stain on your cardigan sleeve. Mother scalded you for it as you left, but there wasn’t time to clean it off. One was never late to these kind of things.
The door opens and the previous candidate scuttles out. The interviewer doesn’t look up from their clipboard as they call your name. You stand, offer your hand, but the interviewer merely turns and retreats back into the room, expecting you to follow.
The room beyond is sparsely furnished. The interviewers desk is as unadorned as the bare grey walls. She sits behind it in a black leather chair, gesturing for you to be seated opposite. You do as you’re told, concentrating on sitting with your back straight. Trying your best to seem presentable.
I sort of liked where this part was going. I had in mind the scene from Mulan where she visits that lady to who judges if she’s an acceptable bride- just more dystopian and without the cricket. I knew that I didn’t want the protagonist to ever get the chance to speak- yet another way that they were censored. But overall, I wasn’t sure how to finish it off. I waited for an idea to come. Waited and waited. I stared and the screen, hit the keys a few times to force an ending and nothing came. The deadline got closer and I was nowhere near the word count. I kept hoping that all of a sudden something would click, and I would bash something out and narrowly make the submission deadline.
But I didn’t. I just gave up. And the project was left unfinished.
I have some other unfinished works that sit dormant in my drafts folder. I won’t share them yet in the hopes that I’ll eventually come back to them. Does anyone have any advice for making yourself write? Or even of how not to be embarrassed of your own writing? Because those are the things I am desperate to figure out. In the meantime, more word vomit posts to come I suppose.
Here’s hoping I get my shit together soon.