Writing is Worse than Puberty

When I hit middle school, my voice habitually creaked like a poorly-lubricated door (cliché simile). It was awful. I never had a problem getting taller or growing facial hair.  I never had to deal with acne. But my voice cracked pretty often. Chicks dug it (kidding).

Along with the physical effects came other things. I ate like an Ethiopian horse, housing two lunches a day and snacking like a fiend. My mind was out of whack. Seeing yourself morph from a smooth-faced child to a hairier, manlier, somewhat-adult-like thing is startling. Thankfully, I’ve stopped growing in that sort of way, being 19. But I’m faced with a new phase.

My ability to write has taken a dive (euphemism). Since January, I’ve been unable to write. Since January, guys. When there was snow on the ground. Here in Jersey, it’s just now starting to cool down again. At the beginning of this phase, I was so full of inspiration. The only issue I had was getting words down. Neither my vision nor my excitement wavered. But after sitting down quite literally every day with nothing but a paragraph at most to show for it by the day’s end day after day, I began to become discouraged. I didn’t initially see this as a problem because it didn’t feel like a problem. Progress was slim, but I came to the keyboard excited to write. I had the whole second act of the novel plotted out thoroughly, so it’s not like I didn’t know where I wanted to take it. I was only facing a nuisance. Surely it would get better.

It didn’t. My frustration grew. The excitement to sit and write wavered because I wasn’t making progress. I sought a solution. My best friend proposed that I step away from the page for a few weeks rather than force myself to write. I stepped away. I returned just as inspired, but just as stuck. My lovely girlfriend troubleshooted the potential root causes of the block with me time and time again. Again, my spirits were lifted, but the results did not change. My author-cousin recommended that I skip around in the story and fill in the gaps later. I wrote maybe five pages by his recommendation, then hit a block.

Recently, I spoke with a mentor of mine and he suggested that I pursue another project altogether to get the creative juices flowing (cliché). His advice pushed me into a project I had considered pursuing for a month or so. Now, I have a new document with a new outline and new notes. My original story was written in an elaborate, detail-heavy style. Frankly, that’s my writing voice. That’s how I write. (Take a look for yourself here, if you’re interested). This new pursuit has me writing more directly, with a snappier pace.

And that’s where I’m at. I wrote the first chapter in about a week. It’s been 2-3 weeks since then, and the second chapter isn’t coming along.

I hope it doesn’t seem like I’m just expressing my woes. I’m not. I’m letting you know what’s up, and if it sounds like it bothers me, it’s because it does. I’m at a loss. My ability to write this story disappeared over night. I don’t know how, but it did. And as I struggle to make progress on this new endeavor, I wonder if I’ve lost it all together.

Puberty was an inevitable phase. By the time I was done with it (or rather, by the time it was done with me), I was different person. At the end of this road, will creative writing be a thing of my past? Right now, it appears that this phase is something that’s out of my hands, as it’s been going strong since January.  What is this phase? Transition into adulthood? I don’t know. I became a man when I watched Braveheart for the first time, so it can’t be that.

I’m going to consider coming back to WordPress. It won’t be nearly in the same capacity as before because I am a student pursuing personal and professional endeavors, but I am going to consider it. I miss you lovely ladies and classy gents. I want to reconnect in a new way.

As always, stay classy.

~J.J. Azar

28 thoughts on “Writing is Worse than Puberty

    1. I’ve missed you too, Kim! I intended to read “On Writing” this summer, along with a bunch of other supplementary material, but the reading was contingent upon my progress in writing. Maybe I ought to take a look at what King suggests. His writing isn’t something me or my mentors herald as the gold standard (he’s definitely succeeded with his writing, though!) but this book is recommended by all so I really should give it a go.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sold, Kim. I’ll get myself a copy soon as I can! I have some wonderful people in my life who have blessed me with Barnes and Noble gift cards, so the wait should be slim 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  1. A.S. Akkalon

    Not being able to write is incredibly frustrating, and I’m not sure I have any useful advice for you. Hang in there. If you really want to write, it will come back. It is in your hands.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. JJ…What to say?
    First, it might not seem like it right now, but 19 is obscenely young. You have time. I didn’t seriously start writing until after I graduated from undergrad…And as for whether you’ll end up really pursuing writing, who can tell? Only way to find out is to live through it. It’s up to you and time. Maybe you will, maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll do something that’s even better–for you. The only way to find out is to live through it. That’s all.

    Looking forward to what’s next,

    DJ

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Many things can throw you off the rails. Sometimes it’s just because you have a full plate. If the story is meant to be written, it will eat at your insides like acid until it’s out, which means it WILL get out. I think this is especially true with a first book.

    Stressing over not being able to write reminds me of what people say about insomnia: the more they worry they won’t sleep, the more anxious they are and the more they can’t sleep.

    I know it bugs you. I can relate, since I’m at a similar point (and it bugs me, too). Coming back to blogging may stir up your creative juices again. (By the way, if you do come back: Yay! I’ve really missed you.) Writing a blog post is writing, which means it can lead to other writing, and interacting with interested people helps to keep one in the groove. Poetry, short stories, and flash fiction are also ways of keeping a person writing; however, I find they’ve backfired on me a bit. Polishing a 1,000-word story is a much more finite task than polishing a novel, and the reward of completion in a decent amount of time becomes addictive.

    I take walks and drives to put my novel “movie” into words. I listen to music to develop ideas and build scenes. The sure-fire trick is housework or anything mindless — this is sure to have me running for the computer with the building pressure of cued story lines that need to be written down right this second before I forget. You may have already seen this https://evablaskovic.com/2015/06/07/14-tips-to-inspire-your-writing/, and I’m not sure how many would apply to you, but in case it helps . . .

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great to hear from you again, Eva.

      I can relate to a lot of what you’ve said. The post of yours that you linked touches upon something I’ve contemplated: returning to my surroundings and deriving inspiration from those.

      Of course, every piece of writing is the result of something learned in life, but the more literal observations have to reinsert themselves back onto the page–well, I have to insert them.

      So I’m going to keep looking, compile a few ideas that inspire me, and maybe put a few short stories together. The only way I’m going to put together a larger piece right now is if it’s with smaller components. A short story compilation of some sorts. We’ll see, every day brings a different idea.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. One of the most underrated efforts of our time is the novel. It’s so much work. A short story compilation is smart idea.

        I’ve been thinking of compiling a book of short stories for a long time. The problem right now is that my stories can’t be put into one book. Some are pretty dark, while others are appropriate for a general audience or children. It will likely be two different books once there’s enough material.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You’re only 19! Maybe you crave more life experiences to feed your writing. Perhaps you need a season of experiencing and observing. Sometimes, a field needs to lie fallow for a season so that the land and can rest. After running wild for a year, the crops come back all the richer.

    Liked by 3 people

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