I’m going to confess something that feels really wrong to say as a writer: I haven’t been enjoying writing lately.
I’ve never really been one to write outside of school assignments, but I’ve always relished the chance to take an assignment and use it to develop my writing skills. Lately, I haven’t even wanted to do that; I find myself procrastinating on even the smallest assignment, avoiding the mental stretch I know it will bring on.
Last semester, I took a 400-level English class on immersion journalism, and it was easily the most difficult writing I’ve ever had to do. I’m a writer, but I’m most definitely not a journalist. The semester started off with the slightly more familiar immersion memoir, but as we got into writing our big, full-on immersion journalism piece I found myself flagging. I needed to be interviewing people, researching, and writing about what I had observed. In an abstract sense, I did want to produce something good, but I just didn’t seem to have it within me to put forth the immense amount of effort required to write a piece of journalism that is thoroughly, thoughtfully researched and that keeps a thread of the author’s thoughts visible throughout.
Granted, I’m pretty confident that this was my first and last stint on the journalism front; I’m comfortable with my chosen field of animation. But the struggles I had with this paper last semester did worry me. Maybe it was because I’m not suited for journalism. Maybe it was a bout of senioritis. Maybe it has to do with my strict, joyless rituals I associate with writing.
I’m not yet sure entirely how to solve this problem, but I think the first step is my ritual. It struck me for our first assignment that we were to think of a ritual we would enjoy, because I’ve always thought of a ritual as a means to an end, or a way to accomplish goals that need to be finished. It’s never even crossed my mind to design a goal with enjoyment in mind. So with that in mind, I think I’ll start with reorienting my thinking towards writing, and maybe pausing to evaluate what’s happening when I find myself dreading writing.