Bad Writer

I think I'm a bad writer.

Now, before I'm chastised, I'd love to carefully interpret that phrase.

This is supposed to be my thing, you know? I illustrate with my words, attempting to create a belles-lettres of sorts. Since my days in spiral curls and butterfly clips, it's been common knowledge that Britney Ann could write and write well. Many have commented on the skill I have to put words together in such a profound way. I never take that compliment for granted. In fact, it damn near makes my heart swell.

So, with a Bachelor's in Print Journalism waiting for me in December, publication job listings open on every Chrome tab, and a blog that needs my love like a newborn, I'm struggling more and more with the idea of being the one thing I've dedicated so much of myself into perfecting: a writer.

Writing as of late has been the last thing on my mind. It hasn't been the effortless process it's historically known to be. I've chalked it up to adulting: being a twenty-something trying to navigate through all the madness of getting it right. Settled simply for the idea that I'm just not as hungry as my fellow wordsmiths out here; maybe I just don't measure up. I took my talent for granted and now, it's fleeting like the one that got away.

The rules and formulas that were set to succeed, especially when it comes to blogging, escape me. That whole "write yourself out of your block"? Yeah ... hasn't worked in five years. Emotional funks muddle my right brain. I don't write consistently. I often doubt the work I publish. I'm a bad writer.

As with most of my revelations, this one came courtesy of a television show: HBO's WASPy 10'clock slot filler, "GIRLS". During the episode "Female Author", problematic protagonist Hannah Horvath starts to question her ability and desire to put the pen to paper in order to write compelling pieces of literature. Ironically enough, this comes after Horvath leaves her job at an established publication and a dysfunctional-yet-beautiful relationship to accept the invite to the graduate program of her dreams: the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Weeks have passed and her opportunity isn't as sweet as she pegged it to be. Her passion's gone, her work now having to be critiqued by peers who don't really get it. It's been made to appeal to others when it's the narrative that she wants to use in her own quirky voice. The mojo's gone. The thrill has left. Suddenly, the one thing she loves to do becomes something she dreads.

It was in that moment I became the black Hannah. Only, you know, not as taxing or privileged.

It’s just like everybody’s saying it’s such a gift, you know, to have all this time to write, but then how come the only thing I want to do is Google the one month where Woody Harrelson and Glenn Close were a couple? I’m in school for the thing I actually want to do. So, shouldn’t I actually want to do it?
— Hannah Horvath

I always think about that resonating episode. The more I stand in this title of "writer", I can't help shake the fear that I'll lose my will to tell stories, tell my stories while remembering to "keep up". Even worse, I'm afraid that with the various twists and turns the print world makes, I'll drown in those "it's not good enough" waves that can pull any artist under.

But, I guess that's just it. That's the beauty associated with curation of craft. I'm entitled to have those bad days; all creatives are. It's okay totally push my MacBook away to promote self-care. I most definitely don't have to beat myself up over content, keeping readers, and just not living up to the hype that comes along with being a writer and blogger in this digital age. Keeping it organic and seeking inspiration in various forms is priority number one. I'll reap those benefits in due time. Right now, it's all for the love. Though we have our ups and downs, my relationship with writing is unconditional. I love to write and will always love to write.

Sure, in a sense, I'm a "bad writer".

Reworking a page from Roxane Gay's book, I'd rather be a bad writer than no writer at all.

Bee Pollard