• Jessyca Stoepker

Writing: a love-hate relationship


Words, words, words. Whether I'm typing them out, writing them down, thinking of the best ones, or doubting if I spelled one right, words have seemed to be my lifeblood from the beginning.

I always say I've been writing since I could pick up a crayon, and that's pretty much true. I remember my aunt Kris sending my mom home with boxes full of colored scrap paper because they both knew I'd go through it all. I'd write stories about a horse named Whisper or about my playground dramas in a girl gang called the Cheetah Girls (good thing I never finished anything, otherwise I might have a lawsuit on my hands). I wrote a short story about a house fire. I wrote about Greek gods and goddesses. I wrote about my dream where my grandma was a witch and I killed a monster with water balloons (you know, the usual).

When I was about twelve, the real journey began: I started a writing project that would become a lifelong commitment. Since our household didn't have WiFi or cable TV back then to keep me entertained in the winter, I spent all my free time in middle school blasting away at my keyboard.

When I "finished" my first "draft" around age 14, my mom (bless her heart) eventually went out and published it on her own. She presented me with a few print copies at a birthday party, complete with an edgy cover and ISBN number. Needless to say, my friends were impressed--and I was embarrassed. Proud, but embarrassed. At the time, I felt like that "weird" girl in the room, the one who was quirky in not a cute way. As if my writing made me a "nerd," and as if that was something to be ashamed of.

Middle school, am I right?

The thing is, it took me a long time to get over that embarrassment. I was stuck between wanting people to read what I wrote but feeling ashamed for it. Society and other influences had drilled certain perceptions into my head that I couldn't flush out. Even though I loved books and wanted nothing more than to be an author since (at least) third grade when I proclaimed it in class, I avoided the calling for so long.

Between our education system pushing STEM and other fields that guarantee a salary, the busyness of school and sports, and teenage low self-esteem, writing was pushed off to the side. It became a hobby I hid from the world.

Luckily, college brought me out of my shell. I enjoyed my class essay assignments. I stepped up my poetry game. I revisited that old novel again, and rewrote it...multiple times over. And now I'm here: blogging, drafting, editing, researching craft, chatting with writers, writing about writing. I've spent entire weekends on my laptop completing fictional chapters and multiple blog posts. Let me tell you, I am LOVING it. I feel like I could do this full-time if I ever got my ass into gear.

However, it's not sunshine and daisies all the time. I still hit roadblocks, and it can be extremely frustrating. Here are a few examples of what I deal with as a writer:

  1. I doubt myself. A lot.

  2. I overthink everything, down to the smallest punctuation mark or turn of phrase.

  3. I can only write good--I mean, good--poetry when I'm sad. And (surprise!) I don't really want to be sad all the time.

  4. Writer's block. For instance, I can't seem to write about one specific character for the life of me.

  5. My attention span is either extremely long or extremely short. AKA: I will get bored in 2 seconds and close the Word doc, or I will burn a pot of beans on my stove from focusing too hard. There's no in-between.

  6. Sometimes I feel trapped, or that I have an itch I can't scratch, or that my goals are so lofty and require so much work that I feel terrified to start.

  7. I still feel that shame and embarrassment sometimes. Or that I'm annoying everyone I know. Huzzah!

Fellow writers: sound familiar? I know that I'm not alone here; I've read plenty of discussion forums that try to tackle

these issues. Doing the research has made me realize that most of them are inevitable regardless of where one is in one's career. All of the major writers of our time--all of them--have experienced feelings like this. Even the oh-so-famous Steven King: "I'm afraid of failing at whatever story I'm writing – that it won't come up for me, or that I won't be able to finish it.”

Writing is truly a love-hate relationship. But, if it was easy, everyone would be doing it. One thing is for sure: I've solidified writing in my life, in whatever form that takes.

Thank you for reading. If you can't tell, it means a lot.

All the best,

Jess

#lovewhatyoudo #life #writing #perspective #lifelessons #acceptance #hobbies #fiction #poetry #struggle #selfdoubt #writelife #writingishard #passion

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