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Have I Always Been a Good Writer?

This Writing Life, The One I Hate To Love

“Have you always been this good at writing? Were your skills anywhere near what you have now before you moved to America?”

I have felt and seen what words can do. When someone asks me if I’ve always been good at writing, I am careful to express my relationship with this writing life. It’s one I am learning to struggle with less and less as I find out that it doesn’t have to be such a pain. Yet, most days, I’m aware that what I fear stares me in the face; what I look forward to calls me on, and I can feel the wind of what I will be capable of when I learn to simply do the work.

I still think, every single day, that I am not a good writer.

It’s been worse recently: I have not been getting the ‘results’ I thought I’d get with how much work I believe I am putting in. Even though I have been in transition for the past year dealing with immigration, work, marriage, etc.

The truth of the matter is: I am not organized, my social media efficiency has slacked, and I could write even more.

Knowing all this doesn’t stop me from feeling like a failure.

It’s as though because I am aware of my potential, and I read all these amazing writers, I compare myself with them although I am aware of what a bad idea this is.

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Photo by Elijah O'Donnell on Unsplash

I’ve always done something with words ever since I can remember. In all this time, I have hardly been able to predict if something will resonate with the reader.

And I am also lazy. Terribly lazy. I have a poetry collection I’ve never published, I have a fiction trilogy I have outlined but haven’t started writing, I always find an excuse to not submit to magazines anywhere.

I only recently put out my first real digital product that had anything to do with my craft — an audio collection.

I keep falling and getting up on this writing life.

Some days are amazing. I feel the words flowing out and the joy of how much I am actually good at it. I have a landscape view of how far I have come and how my practice of reading and writing is paying off.

Then, some days, there’s nothing. I literally feel like the worse writer on earth and that everyone who said I should get a job was right.

I have tried to write on those days and those are the pieces I am usually proud of: they remind of how much I love writing and how to me, it’s not only about the audience but a way of communicating with the world.

The more I spend time writing, the less I feel ‘great’ about it.

I mean…I don’t enjoy writing as much anymore but I enjoy having written.

It’s like going to the store to get groceries. You might not want to drive or take the bus, but you want your food. And there’s no Amazon fix for this.

I’m almost always in a fight with myself where I need to do what I don’t feel like doing (writing) so I can feel ( the joy of words).

But these are just extreme scenarios.

Some days are pretty regular: I get an idea, I sit on the computer or phone, I get it out, I love it, and my community loves it.

Some days, I spend months on a piece: it sucks, no one likes it, I hate it and I feel terrible.

Or I really like it, and I’m left wondering what I did wrong.

It’s like a sea wave, this writing life: it ebbs and flows. Like a surfer, I need to remind myself that I know how to swim if I miss my move.

That I can get back on the board and try again.

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Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Unsplash

I need to remember that some days, I’ll have the perfect sequence of wave, strokes, and skill.

I don’t think I’ll ever feel comfortable with my level of skill as a writer.

But, the only thing that will stop me from working at it is death.

Written by

Cameroonian writer and video creator. Featured in LEVEL and P.S. I Love You. I write about building relationships and personal transformation.

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