On the difficulty of Writing

Where do those brief spells of inspiration go? It seems that the things which really drive me to create only come to me when I'm in no position to do so.

Writing is definitely the worst offender in this. I clearly remember twice yesterday during work, and several times the day before, where I thought, "now there's something to write about". I can still recall the meat of one, but it is empty of the enveloping need to create. Where does that passion go?

This is something which has bothered me since leaving school, and only gotten worse as my life has progressed further from the point when I could justify spending all day lounging around the house doing nothing but writing or painting when the mood struck me - and often painfully aware of my personal failings when there was no such creative outlet to keep my mind occupied. Especially when I was in school, I would grab those absurd thoughts and desires, and write as though possessed for the rest of the class, into the break, and often back into the next class. The words would pour out of me, unbound, uncensored, uncaring of their worth. The joy I felt afterwards, reading over something that I had created that was unique - if not all that good - was worth every consequence of ignoring the class. To be happy was a rare treat those days, and for it to be caused by my own hand...

Now it is often a struggle to write out more than a few lousy paragraphs, and even that may take me an hour. I grasp at words, ponder at my intentions, wonder at the thoughts of the reader... I would much prefer to write prolifically, as I did before, and return to each piece to weed out the garbage and malarky. Perhaps a good exercise would be to finally settle on editing, revising, and continuing the 82nd storyline?

Ah, and that brings us to the second issue, at which I've hinted already.

I know that a good deal of this reservedness is caused by my fear of the reader, which, in my case, is almost completely limited to my friends. This is a much larger pressure on me now than it was when I began writing. In fact, some of my early pieces may have been posted simply because I knew they were too much, and could not tell the difference between what I wanted to censor for my sake and what I thought I should censor for the sakes of others. I pushed such things out into the wilds of the internet because I was thumbing my nose at propriety, daring anyone to be offended. While that is a valid path in art, it is not necessarily what drives me, personally, and I feel it's disingenuous to act as though it does.

How to find that balance, between keeping true to oneself and hiding one's more unpleasant thoughts? Are a pseudonym or completely unbridled truth the only answers?

Curious that I jumped straight to that branch of the topic. My issue now is not that I'm worried about censoring myself, but rather that I'm simply embarrassed to write at all. The bits and pieces which I have worked on fitfully over the last year or two are certainly nothing divine. I won't be releasing them to accolades and fans starving for more. But why do I continually find myself embarrassed by what I can do?

At its core, this problem is one which I've heard from artists over and over again. You have certainly heard the opinion espoused before: "I am my own harshest critic." Especially when these moods strike. There is nothing you could say about my writing that would cause me surprise. This makes for an easy time reading critiques, but only because the negativity of what is said is already long present, a sopping-wet blanket carried on my shoulders at all times until the chill is familiar, if not pleasant.

How odd that this feeling of utter worthlessness prior to and during the process can still be somewhat tampered when looking back over a completed work. Like a blog post that began as frustratingly slapping at the keyboard, and turned into my most successful rambling in years.