Why I Stopped Writing (And Why I’m Starting Again)

It is February 12th. We’re nearly a month and a half into the new year. Some of us are still going strong with our resolutions. Some of us have tweaked or even given up on certain resolutions. As for me, I’m just starting.

Even though there are countless internet articles that argue for it, I forwent writing my resolutions down this year. I did that last year. I neatly printed my resolutions in the Moleskin notebook I always carry with me. I only had two: 1) Take a comedy writing class, and 2) Run the Marvel Superhero 10k at Disneyland. By the time I got out of my 60-plus-hour-a-week job, I had already planned to leave LA, so resolution #1 was a bust. As for resolution #2, moving home made it impossible to return for the race. So, Casey’s Resolutions for 2017 were a wash.

This year, I didn’t write their resolutions down. I didn’t want to feel pressure to complete anything by year end. The last couple of years have been filled with enough pressure for me. But I do have an idea of the things I want to do this year: Finish my upcoming 5k in under 30 minutes, Try to get to 100 books read in the year (a yearly goal I’ve had for a long time), Become better at keeping in touch/making plans with people (since I’m pretty terrible at it), Actively work towards happiness and relaxation.

Most of all, I want to get back into writing, particularly writing here on my blog.

It would be easy to say to myself, “Hey, start writing again this new year,” and just do it. No one, except maybe my mom, would notice the sudden return. For many, it would probably be like, “Hey, Casey has a new blog post. Cool.” But as I struggled to write even this post, to break out of the funk and actually write the damn thing, I felt like it was important—maybe to you, but mostly for me—to address why it’s taken so long and been so hard to work back up to blogging again.

It started in college. For about two years, I wrote consistently twice a week, and as I got older, it fell off to once a week, to a few times a month to sporadically over a couple of months. That’s easy enough to explain. College is a never-ending parade of classes, on-campus jobs, academic meetings, club meetings, group project meetings, and then there’s everything that happens after hours. I found time to write when I had a topic that particularly interested me, but the smaller, fluffier posts lost out to naps and Netflix.

Once I graduated and moved, I was waiting for myself to get settled before I started blogging. Those first couple weeks were nothing, but unpacking boxes for my internship, watching Friends on my inflatable mattress and hoping I wouldn’t run out of money. Sure, my fellow recent grads could relate to the awkwardness of post-college life, but as I quickly discovered in LA, I write better when I’m the confident one, when I’m the one who knows what’s going on and can impart wisdom to others. Writing, like life, isn’t as fun when you’re lonely and confused and trying to muddle through the bad stuff. You’re a stronger and better writer and person when you make it to the other side.

Unfortunately, that awkwardness and loneliness didn’t leave me throughout my time in LA. I met wonderful people and made some great memories, but there was a general feeling of discontent and hopelessness throughout my LA experience. A lot of my professional experiences left me feeling like I was expendable.

That, on top of knowing that thousands of people were out there trying to do, with varying degrees of success, exactly what I want to do, was incredibly discouraging. Having a blog nowadays is as common as owning a pair of skinny jeans. What is my voice worth among the thousands and thousands of others? What did I really have to say that was unique? To whom would my words even matter to? I started to believe it wouldn’t be a big deal if I ever blogged again.

Even as I drove away from LA’s oppressive influence on me, I was still gripped by these feelings of self-doubt. But in came Facebook. Facebook’s Memories, especially in the last couple of months, have brought up old posts, and it has reminded me a lot about my early blogging days. I can still recall the day I created my first blog on blogspot, how I sat in the Carolina sun and wrote that introductory post. How excited I was to have a little project on my own. Little did I know that that little project would become a huge part of my identity.

The Gal about Town became the way everyone knew me. I was thrilled whenever a classmate stopped me on campus and said they had read my latest post. I loved connecting with others through words. But in those days, the writing wasn’t about catering to an audience; it was about writing what I find noteworthy. Having people relate to what I was saying was an additional perk.

I’ve taken the last couple months to reflect—on what I want to do next professionally, what I want for my life over the next five/ten/fifteen years, what makes me happy. So much of my LA experience was grasping at straws to find some semblance of happiness, hoping it would quell all the negativity of my surroundings. Going to the gym, knitting, going to the movies—they didn’t solve my problems, but they did make me feel better. Moving forward, in an attempt to build the next chapter of my life around balance and happiness, I’ve been trying to do more of those things that make me happy. Blogging is one of those things.

However, I’ve found out that even for me, who has wanted to do nothing but write since she was seven, starting to write again isn’t like getting back on the metaphorical bicycle. Over the last three or fours years, I’ve created a habit of inaction when it has come to my writing. I’ve spent almost three weeks trying to motivate myself to finish this post. Old habits die hard. Luckily, I have some experience building new habits.

So, this is me, starting to build my new habit. I’m starting small—a new post every Monday—and we’ll see how it goes!

Until Next Time,
Casey Brown // Gal about Town

Image via Flikr user Bruce Guenter // CC BY 2.0


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