Everyday at 2pm my alarm pops up on my phone. “Write in my blog” it says. Words I wrote years ago in an effort to try and write everyday. I click “Completed” with a pang of guilt, but the only person I am lying to when I proclaim to have finished the task, is myself. It has been years since I have posted in my blog. I have considered getting rid of the daily reminder, but that feels somehow even worse. It is as though I know I need the daily sting of letting myself down, knowing if I no longer have that I risk stopping forever.
But am I still a writer anymore? This thing I identified as, in my core, now feels fraudulent. Maybe someone never stops being a writer if they ever wrote something they felt mattered. If Jane Austen had stopped writing later in life would we say she is no longer a writer? What she created before still exists, and still came from her. I am not comparing myself to Jane Austen, I only dream of writing things that matter as much as her work. She knows the feeling of poring a full story from her mind and completing the elusive task of committing it to a page. She is a writer in our cannon. We teach her and learn her name and she is forever defined as a writer. So maybe if you write, or have written, you always get to identify that way.
I’m sure there is a much deeper and more impassioned debate to be had about the difference between a published novelist and the long absent blogger. There is a canyon of disparity between them. I feel inadequate when I think of how much I could do and haven’t done. If I had written even every week these past few years, where would my writing be?
I feel clunky and out of practice. I feel like an imposter sitting back at a keyboard and stringing together words.
But I know I have to restart sometime. I cannot live my life not writing, it would be the one thing I would look back on and know I let myself down.
I don’t need to become Jane Austen to feel like my writing was important. It is important to me to express myself through this medium. It is like a first language or getting on a bike after years of not riding. My body and mind still know exactly what to do.
I could say I stopped because I lost my mother. It’s partially true. She was my driving force, my cheerleader, my editor, toughest critic and biggest fan. With her gone I consider that I may only be writing for myself and the people I nudge into reading my posts. But I am ready for that. When she first passed away, nothing was enough to fill her void. Now, I am enough alone. The void is still there, but I cannot use it as an excuse anymore because I know now that I know how to exist and thrive in its presence.
I stopped writing because my mother died. I stayed away from writing because of fear. I need to face that head on or risk missing out on the thing I love most. Nothing is in my way except for myself; her I can handle.
It’s after 2pm today, so I had already brushed off and lied to my own alarm. But I will write something again tomorrow before 2, so when it lights up my screen, I can be honest for the first time in a long time.