If you knew me a long time ago, or even just a few years ago, believe it when I say that I am different now. In a lot of ways I’m the same, because most people are pretty much who they are in certain, fundamental ways from a very young age. Maybe even the moment they’re born. However, then there’s life, which tends to happen to everyone, and some of us end up being different than how we were, or how we thought we would be.
Generally, people change a bit over time. It’s what they call “growing up” and it sucks.
When I was a very young writer — you know, like 8, 10, 14… — I had so much creative energy. Writing came easily, and although I didn’t really write anything I would call publishable, it was really good for my age. I think of it as developing my craft, so that fact that I’m never going to make money off the stuff I wrote then doesn’t matter.
I can’t say how long exactly, but it’s been such a long time since I had a story in me that I just HAD to write down. It comes once in a while for little ideas, images or just some way of phrasing an obvious aspect of life that seems too important not to put into the world (although I rarely find that the pieces I like best are the ones anyone else really responds to). Those are generally things that I put onto this site as flash pieces. But stories that have a full plot and a length that allows readers to delve into them have not leaped out of me with the wild abandon they used to for quite a while.
I have all sorts of theories about why that is. I don’t know what’s the truth, so I don’t really want to ramble on about that. But when I look at how I used to write, with certainty and energy and the ability to immerse myself in the work, versus the current habits of letting a story sit for years that could be written in a week, wondering if it’ll be worth it, never being able to fully picture the world of my characters, it seems a lot like a side effect of growing up.
While I was thinking about this stupid, stupid fact, I first dubbed it the “maturation of my writing mind.” I immediately decided that didn’t sound right. My writing skills are undoubtedly better now than they were when I was 10, but would I really consider this state now “mature” in comparison to the mindset that allowed me to write without forcing myself to sit down at a keyboard? No. I really wouldn’t. If I had been actively writing all this time, then I could think of the development as maturation. It’s not the case.
I haven’t been growing more mature, just growing older. It’s funny, because I used to be very mature for my age. I think I’ve actually regressed in that department.
At the moment I’m trying really hard to motivate myself, to improve all aspects of my life, including writing. I have no idea how that will go. Stick around; maybe I’ll have some good news in a few months…