2018: The Year I Lost My Voice

I’ve been writing since I was 14. Poems, mostly, but also the occasional stab at fiction and then later journalism in high school and college. In the 24 plus years since, writing has been something I either did with pride or attempted to avoid when I questioned who I was. I’ve never been the cliché writer who pounded away at a keyboard for hours on end every single day or kept multiple notebooks filled with scribbles and various notes in her bag. I usually carry one notebook in my bag but often times it’s rare for it be used past a few pages.

Regardless of those clichés, writing has been a part of me all these years. It’s what I know and love. Except in 2018. I lost my voice and my desire to write. Worse, I stopped caring about writing. Admittedly some of that stemmed from the fear of being judged. Each time I’d write a new post or attempt to start again the trolls would emerge from their caves and attack me.

Late one night just after Christmas my husband asked whether I still wanted to write. I responded with “yes, but…”

The “but” was the feeling of “Why bother?” Living a life worth writing about had come to a sort of standstill as I navigated through various struggles, some which were my own doing. “I sit on my ass at home and don’t do much each day. What could I possibly write about? And don’t get me started on the fact I don’t read much anymore.”

I knew I had wasted too much time and energy on things that didn’t make me happy. Living in a constant state of “Who am I really?” complicated things even further and my confidence was shot to hell. With so much circling around in that brain of mine, my writing voice disappeared. Any attempt I made to write fell flat. It was boring, tiresome, and felt more like a chore than something I once loved to do.

Since that night, I’ve been thinking about who I am and who I once was as a writer. I dug down deep into my years as a student journalist and recalled the days of chasing down leads, talking to sources for information, and eagerly accepting any story that meant traveling somewhere.

I remembered the days I loved to read just about anything that fell into my lap. Many of them were true crime stories or books written by John Grisham. To this day I still love true crime stories and spend ridiculous amounts of time on YouTube watching videos.

But, I digress.

For the first time in a long time I am actually eager to write. What I write about is largely up in the air, perhaps not surprisingly. It may take some time to find my voice again, it may not.

To help fuel my creativity, I’m writing in my notebooks and journals. After all, I do have a crap ton of them lying around the apartment just waiting to be scribbled in. Coffee helps too, of course. I decided to try a new coffee shop close to home after passing by it often for the past year or so. Honey vanilla latte, anyone?

I guess that’s one more key to making 2019 a better year for writing. Experiences. Trying new things. Going new places. After too much time focusing on all the things that need to be done (read: the mundane and boring adulty nonsense), I’m determined to reset my focus to writing and photography.

Here’s to a new year, friends. I can’t wait to see what’s in store, cliché as that is.

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