Why I'm Scared To Write

I want to be a writer. I’m doing all of the things I can at this point: I’m taking English and Creative Writing courses, I’m reading more than I’m breathing, I’m even writing this right now. But I’m continually faced with the same major problem: how come it scares me so much to write?

When I look into the future, with all of the uncertainty I constantly carry upon my shoulders, it’s hard for me to see who I’ll be. And I know, it’s hard for everyone, I get that. But, just because everyone is struggling, doesn’t make it any easier. I’m just one fourth-year English major who has no idea what to do with herself. And I hate it. 

But, despite all of the uncertainty, I see myself as a writer. Which type of writer? I’m not sure yet. I think I see fiction. I also see journalism. Maybe even songwriting. 

That isn’t the point though. I’m not trying to talk about what I want to be, I want to talk about why I’m so afraid of it. I want to understand why I lie on my bed for hours, on Pinterest, when I know very well that I should get up and open my laptop. I want to know why it takes so many people to push me to write. Why can’t I just do it? It doesn’t make sense. I love writing, I love literature and I love everything that has to do with words. So I’m pretty confident that I’m on the right track as far as planning my future, my career and my entire being. But, like I’ve been saying, I’m scared to write. 

I realized this over the summer. For the first half, I didn’t have a job. So, I figured I would finally start writing. I had two whole months to do whatever I wanted, write whatever I wanted, all on my own time. Do you know how many notes I wrote down? Do you know how many stories I created? Do you know how many times I clicked “save” thinking, “oh yeah, this has some potential, I’ll come back to this later”? 

Zero. 

Why? Am I lazy? Well, probably. But I know there’s something else going on. There was something holding me back. It was as if it was physical—I couldn’t even bring my hands to my keyboard, I couldn’t even pick up a pen. I wanted to, I really did, because I thought about it so much. I thought about writing, I thought about waking up, brewing tea, grabbing my notebook and just going for it. I had some half-formed ideas that I figured I could sort out. That’s the hardest part, isn’t it? Thinking of what to write? Apparently not. 

I knew I had ideas and stories that I could get into. But still, I spent my days playing Animal Crossing, reading every novel in my house, cleaning my room, shopping, learning to paint, basically anything and everything that didn’t have to do with me actually writing something.

I felt pretty shit about myself. It sounds dumb, because if I felt terrible, why didn’t I just do what would make me happy? I understand. But I don’t think I was really ready to call myself a writer. I needed some time to process the thought of me as a writer. To really believe that I was one, or even believe in the possibility of being one. I couldn’t begin to understand the minds of those who dedicate their lives to words and paper, to late nights and computer screens, to ink stains on their hands, to bags under their eyes and storms in their minds, to thinking constantly about how everything around them can be explained in words. Everything around them can be taken, digested and spat out onto a document to explain emotions that don’t make sense. It’s a magic power, I think. 

I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t ready to commit fully to a life of adventure, torture, misery, excitement and every other extreme emotion in the books. But as I continue through my undergraduate degree, and I read all of the amazing articles by my fellow Her Campus Western writers, I feel as if I am on track to being this creative mind I had always imagined myself as. As I write this out, as I sit outside on my university’s patio, going into my fourth and final year as an English and Creative Writing student, I think I am finally ready to take on the title of a writer. Though no one has given it to me, I don’t want anyone to give it to me. It won’t mean anything from anyone other than myself. 

So, I think I’m ready. More ready than before, but maybe not quite. But I know I will be soon. Because there’s no better magic in the world than a well-written piece of literature. And I want to be someone who can create that magic all on her own. 

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