Why I've Been Drawing and Not Writing
Writing has been difficult for me, for a while now. I don’t like admitting this. I don’t like having to question my identity and interests and talents.
I can trace my difficulty with writing to two significant events: graduating from school and developing anxiety.
First came graduating with my Master’s degree. I had just completed the largest number of poems I’d ever written in a small amount of time—roughly 15 poems in three months. I was proud of them, but I was on a poetry high that was soon to come crashing down. I launched into a devastating and exhausting job search right after which allowed me no mental capacity for creativity. When I moved back to Kansas, I was engulfed by learning to teach nearly 100 college students with almost no training. After finally getting settled and thinking that maybe I would start writing poetry again, it happened, the anxiety. What you have to know about my poetry writing process is that it happens in the quiet moments, an image comes, a phrase, a word. The poems happen in the moments when I am walking or sitting on the couch or eating breakfast. But when my anxiety arrived, these quiet thoughts were slowly being eaten away by anxious thoughts and worries. Unsurprisingly, my poetry disappeared with it.
I sit here now, almost a year later, with my anxiety (mostly) under control and more free time to write, and yet, it isn’t happening. Instead of writing, I am drawing. I am drawing a lot, like, at least one new drawing every day. Why? I have a couple of theories.
My first theory is that this new hobby of mine is a new novelty. I’m no stranger to diving into new projects, finishing them, and then never trying it again. I’ve done this with making videos, embroidery, collages, and coding, just to name a few. Is this just a fad for me? Could be, but I hope it isn’t.
My second is that writing creates pressure while drawing does not. When I sit down to write, I am often coming to it with expectations of things I have written in the past. Which journal will I send this to? Will this be the poem that puts me on the map? If I want to be a professional writer, doing well at this is essential. Critical. On the other hand, drawing presents no pressure. If I suck at it, nobody cares. I am not trying to be a professional artist. I have no training. I am doing this to make cool things that I like and no other reason.
Honestly, I want to write again. I want to write more than anything, but sometimes we have to accept that what is best for us right now isn’t what we want. I know the poems will return to me again. I am not doubting that. For now, I will keep doing what makes me happy. I will keep creating and learning and growing in whatever way that I can.