Why I Stopped Writing

7 Jan

When I was much younger (you know, like 20), I knew deep in my heart that I was destined for something great. If not great, then really, really good. My confidence as a writer and editor was strong and possibly off-putting to others. It was only a matter of time before I would land a job at a large daily newspaper, or write a novel. You know, the novel I never started. (Rather, started 20 different versions of. If you have trouble staying focused on a storyline have I got a book for you!)

I graduated from college, then completed an internship at The Sacramento Bee as a copy editor. A hiring freeze in the industry meant none of the interns would be hired that year. I updated my resume and found a job as an administrative assistant. I wrote here and there, toyed with the idea of attending graduate school for creative writing, submitted my resume halfheartedly to companies seeking skilled copywriters. But I never really tried. Not with the dedication that I imagine real writers have.

Over the years, my dreams of success, fame and fortune drifted back and forth like seaweed at the shore.

I wanted it to be easy.

Nothing worth doing is easy, blah blah, etc.

Years and one child later, I created a blog. First it was just about my daughter. Then I wanted to show everyone the things I was working on at home, as the ultimate housewife who cooks! Bakes! Sews! Then I started reading a whole bunch of other blogs. These blogs had amazing photography. They had well-designed pages with sponsors and lots of readers. I wanted to make money from my blog too. And that’s when I made the leap and started seeing writing as a job instead of a hobby. Obligation instead of meditation.

Writing had become so…. boring. Something to be started with a sigh of resignation.

I avoid things that bore me. So I started to avoid writing.

It didn’t feed my soul. Checking page stats and earning pennies on an ad click didn’t fulfill me. I wasn’t making the world better. I wasn’t helping people do meaningful things with their lives. Monetary incentive was destroying my passion. And I believe that translates in the written word. I believe a reader can tell when a writer is passionate and when she is just counting the words.

I didn’t make any resolutions this year. I have hopes and dreams though.

I hope to rediscover my passion.

I dream that I will write something that touches just one person’s heart.

It is becoming clear to me that real “success” has nothing to do with money and everything to do with doing something that you love. Every day.

Not for money. But for the soul.

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4 Responses to “Why I Stopped Writing”

  1. Colleen January 7, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    I love this. It is exactly why I write. Not because I think I’m any good at it but becayuse it feels good. I hope you find your passion this year, Mama xoxo

  2. hereivelandedC January 7, 2012 at 4:36 pm #

    AMEN.

    Thats one thing I have hated as blogging has gotten more and more popular………..these “popular” blogs that you can tell the writer is only writing out of obligation/want to make money. It’s one reason why I never went that route. Partly because I never wanted to SEEM like I was trying to make money off my readers and partly because I never wanted to feel obligated to write.

    I never found your confidence off putting. I always really respected that you did something well and knew it. 😉

  3. Mike Shirk January 7, 2012 at 10:04 pm #

    I wrote because I had no choice. No more writing, no more job. I wrote what others asked (told) me to. Sometimes it was fun. Mostly it was drudgery. All those obligatory words – millions by actual count – left me with an empty hole where there had once been inspiration. But now as my life enters its eighth decade, I feel the obligation to write some kind of memoir. Sigh …

  4. Kelly January 9, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    I hope you find your passion, Karen. There is so much pressure to try and make what we do that feels good, that keeps us sane, pay our bills. But I am certain that your sanity counts for something. 🙂 I know mine does.

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