Why I Stopped Writing for 20 Years

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Yes, you read that correctly - I stopped writing for 20 years! If you’ve been to my homepage you might be wondering how I can say writing is my passion if I stopped writing for 20 years. I didn’t stop writing altogether. I still wrote things for school and work but I stopped writing for myself. I stopped having fun with writing. Here's the short version why I stopped writing for 20 years.

When I was in elementary school, I was fortunate to have two teachers that encouraged my class to be creative with writing (thank you, Mrs. Green and Mrs. Murphy). We were encouraged to enter writing contests. I still remember an essay I wrote in grade seven about the Douglas Fir tree that won first place. Then I got to high school.

I’m a perfectionist and getting good grades was always important to me. Anything less than an “A” wasn’t very good in my books. In grades eleven and twelve I got B’s in English. I thought my stories were awesome but in my mind I got B’s which, to me, meant my teachers didn’t think my stories were very good.

Then I went to college and got C’s in my first and second year English classes. I felt like I didn’t get. I didn’t understand how the professors and other students could see so much symbolism in the stories we were studying and I couldn’t. That’s when I decided English wasn’t for me and that’s about the time I stopped writing. I decided to be an accountant. I always got A’s in math therefore I must be good at it!

Of course, the accounting world wasn’t what I expected. The long summer holidays made up for the crazy busy tax seasons (sort of) but I had no sense of balance. When I had kids, achieving a balanced enjoyable life become even more important to me.  

Having kids change everything but I never expected them to bring out my creativity again. I found myself writing poems about my kids because they just came to me and I had to write them down. As they got older, I started drawing and creating art with my kids. I love using stories as a way to explain things to my sons.

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Today I wrote a poem in a journal I bought over 20 years ago. The first page has a spot for my name and the date. I wrote my nickname because what would I do if I ever lost my journal and somebody found out all my secrets?! And then I wrote the date - 1994. That was it. Not one single word. Then in 2001 I guess I decided I would try writing again so I crossed out 1994 (because I hadn’t written any other darn thing in that journal) and wrote 2001. The journal sat there again with no words in it until 2009 when I decided to use it as a place to write all the baby names my husband and I liked.

Inside cover of the journal I waited 20 years to write in.

Inside cover of the journal I waited 20 years to write in.

One of the best things about rediscovering my creativity through writing is now that I’m in my 40’s, I don’t care if people think I’m good or bad. I just want to create...for me...because I enjoy it! If there’s something you love to do that brings you joy then just do it. Don’t think about what other people think because it doesn’t matter! Certainly don't wait 20 years to do it! Joy is created internally, not externally. Is there something you love to do that you fear you’re not good at so you don't even try? Let me know in the comments below.