Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

How I Stopped Writing This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

You can’t do this. You won’t describe it well enough. Anyone reading this will laugh a your choice of words. You are nothing but a naïve little girl.

There is no foundation for this piece, and no inspiration for making one. There is no good reason for me to be writing this. I only write it because I am so desperate to have a pen and notebook paper in my hand again that I don’t know what else to do.

You really should be careful what you wish for, because it will never turn out as perfectly as you imagine.

If you’d have given me a blank piece of paper a year and half ago, you’d have come back to find it filled with random thoughts, bits of dialogue, titles, names, whatever was in my head at the time. That was on a bad day. On a good day every line would be filled with my handwriting, and you’d only be back because you heard me screaming for more paper.

Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that what I wrote was a masterpiece, that it was even mediocre. I’m not saying that my characters lives weren’t way too perfect or that the plots weren’t totally unoriginal clichés, because they were.

When I was writing I knew all of those things, but I didn’t really care. Writing was a high for me, a rush of pride and adrenaline at being able to create something I was completely in love with.

I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but within the last year, the voice of doubt in my head got louder and louder with everything I wrote. Eventually, I decided I had to grow up and stop living in my little I’m-going-to-be-a-famous-writer-just-because-I-want-to-be-one fantasy bubble. I decided I needed to stop writing and focus on important things in my life.

I’m still on exactly sure how I stopped writing, but I do know it involved a lot of stressing out and telling myself to be practical and that I wasn’t any good at this so I shouldn’t even try. I also quit going on teenink and most of the files on my desktop were off limits. I could never bring myself to put them in the trash, but there were times I came very close. Instead I dragged them all into one folder on my desktop where I wouldn’t have to look at them. I essentially cut writing from my life, I even quit keeping journals.

I remember cleaning out a drawer one day and finding a bunch of hand-written stories. I read through parts of them and was completely disgusted with myself for ever thinking they were good. I almost threw them out, but the idea made my chest clench up and my stomach hurt, so I put them all in a folder, then into a drawer I didn’t open very often.

I wonder if the reason I didn’t miss writing was because I didn’t allow myself to miss it, the amount of self control I have even amazes me sometimes.

I had successfully distracted myself from writing and was completely occupied with school, friends, and life in general. One day English class, out of the blue, I decided I wanted to write something. I’m not surprised it was English class, that’s the only one I’ve ever felt comfortable writing in. I could fill whole pages given a study hall.

I was sitting there with my red notebook and favorite pencil, waiting expectantly to start writing. It might sound strange to say I was expecting to write, but I can’t think of another way to say it. Words, stories, plotlines, characters, they all just come, without my even having to ask. Only this time they didn’t.

It was like there was a block on my mind. I kept thinking over and over again No, you shouldn’t be doing this. You aren’t good at this, you shouldn’t be deluding yourself. I managed to work through that block, accepting that what I was about to write wouldn’t mean anything and I would never do anything with it, I was just doing this for fun.

My mind finally seemed to be ok with me writing, so I shifted my pencil slightly and pressed it to my page. Nothing. Not a word. I just sat there wondering what to write about. That had never as long as I could remember happened to me. Even after all of that time I thought I had convinced myself I didn’t want to write, the realization that I had actually succeeded in forgetting how horrified me. I was scared and I didn’t know what to do, so I did exactly what I had been doing for the past year: I told myself I didn’t need to write and shoved the whole incident to the back of my mind.

About two weeks ago, I was in a really good mood and decided it wouldn’t hurt if I did a little writing. I opened up one of my files and read through it. I didn’t really add anything to the story but I enjoyed changing words here and there remembering what it was like to be inside the minds of the characters I had created. I only did it for about twenty minutes, but for some reason that was enough. When I shut my computer down I didn’t feel silly for doing something that would never mean anything, I didn’t berate myself for not being able to express everything I wanted to or for being melodramatic, I just enjoyed the story. I knew it wasn’t as good as things written by other people, some of them years younger than me, but I didn’t really care. I had written something, and I’d had fun doing it.

I think I was scared to start writing again, scared that all of the things I had achieved, all of the friends I had made, would all go away if I started writing again. I think this was because I associate a lot of my writing with a long illness I had. The whole experience was horrible and isolating, writing was my escape, but I paid a price for it. In order to forget those things, I also had to cut myself off. I didn’t really talk to anyone, I didn’t want to go anywhere, and I stopped caring about talking to my friends or hanging out with them.

Today I was on the computer watching different covers of my favorite songs, something I hadn’t done in a while, and I suddenly wished I could do something like that, that there was a talent I had that manifested so strongly, that other people could see it so clearly. However much I tried to deny it, the first thing I thought of was writing. I had told myself for so long that writing was what I was good at and what made me special, that these past months spent telling myself I didn’t need to write anymore wilted quickly.

I found a notebook and sat down to write, not sure what about. A few ideas flitted timidly through my mind, but my brain quickly crushed them, saying they were stupid, worthless, completely unoriginal. I finally decided on a diary entry. Those had always been one of the easiest things for me, diary entries were safe. I thought about how to start, but my head was filled with too much self-doubt for me to think clearly. I decided to write down all of the things I couldn’t stop thinking, hoping that maybe that would help them to go away.

I didn’t expect to come out with this. I got started and suddenly it morphed, and things I hadn’t even realized I’d been thinking about spilled onto the page.

I’m nervous now. I’m starting to wonder if all of this wasn’t just insane, if tomorrow I’ll wake up and put this whole thing in the trash because it was stupid to write it. I can feel the inspiration slipping away, but I think that’s ok. I think it will come back again. Probably not as strongly or in the same way as it used to, but I think that’s ok too. People change, that’s just the way life is, so there isn’t any reason me and my writing shouldn’t change too.

Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

. said...
Dec. 27, 2012 at 9:35 pm
This is very well-written and honest. I've felt like this too, although not from illnesses, but I've always come back to writing very quickly. I love the line, "Writing was a high for me, a rush of pride and adrenaline at being able to create something I was completely in love with." I really like this.
Site Feedback