It will get better, it always does.

***** Part 1. Frustration. *****

  1. Write.

  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.

  3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.

 

This is the procedure I haven’t been through for quite some time, at least in a way I would find satisfying, for the writing I would consider coming from my heart. And I want to know why, because it is devastating to my soul and literally makes me feel sick. In these months, everytime I traced a thought worth being expanded in a post, I opened the blog and saved the notes, or more often the title, in a draft. I then stared at the blank screen of the new post, blankly. The right word would not be found. One word would not follow another. My mind would drift away, unwilling to witness the shrinking of self-esteem. For whatever excuses my mind would gratify me with, paragraphs would simply not form. This fact undoubtedly adds to my adjustment to living in Japan, and by “adds” I mean aggravates it. Writing in the staff room is not possible as I cannot hear my thoughts. Writing at home is not happening as I am exhausted of the heat and mental pressure of the day, so all I can force myself to do is mindless cooking, watching endless shows on ororo.tv, or colouring mandalas. Considering my *ridiculous* dream to one day wake up a regular contributor to a magazine, a columnist, and/ or eventually a writer, the situation I’ve landed in, well, in one word, sucks.

WRITE. The word keeps ringing in my head. It is unbearable as I know I will suffer through the process and with every minute I will spend racking my brains for words, I will hate myself more and more.

 

***** Part 2. Drowning. *****

The term is over, students are gone, school is empty, my day at work is anything I make of it. So I started reading, as I see it one of the major reasons why my wrtitng does not tick anymore. First, I got back to reading The Tale That Wags but I can only read at home in the comfort of my bed, which seems to be the most welcoming area in my apartment. At work I turned to reading the blog posts I missed, the iTDi Blog issues, and the brainpickings. A more thorough look through my Facebook feed led me to this page. Reading Malcolm Gladwell’s essays got me all warmed up inside once again, as I returned to imagining my own writing on the digital pages of The New Yorker some day. Laugh all you can and scoff at the daring, one can dream.

The most extraordinary, shocking thing happened- I realized my eyes slip line over line, not concentrating, drifting further and further away, hands clasping mobile phone suddenly and unnecessarily. What is happening??! Reading brings about just as much pain as writing. Trying to balance the unbalanced, reading to revive writing, I ended up drowning.

 

***** Part 3. Questionable wisdoms. *****

Desperate in my search for reasons I fall through with my attempts to write successfully in Japan, one click after another and I found myself on this page, where Stephen King details everything one needs to know to write successfully. So here’s what disturbed me:

 

4. Remove every extraneous word

You want to get up on a soapbox and preach? Fine. Get one and try your local park. You want to write for money? Get to the point. And if you remove all the excess garbage and discover you can’t find the point, tear up what you wrote and start all over again . . . or try something new.

5. Never look at a reference book while doing a first draft

You want to write a story? Fine. Put away your dictionary, your encyclopedias, your World Almanac, and your thesaurus. Better yet, throw your thesaurus into the wastebasket. The only things creepier than a thesaurus are those little paperbacks college students too lazy to read the assigned novels buy around exam time. Any word you have to hunt for in a thesaurus is the wrong word. There are no exceptions to this rule. You think you might have misspelled a word? O.K., so here is your choice: either look it up in the dictionary, thereby making sure you have it right – and breaking your train of thought and the writer’s trance in the bargain – or just spell it phonetically and correct it later. Why not? Did you think it was going to go somewhere? And if you need to know the largest city in Brazil and you find you don’t have it in your head, why not write in Miami, or Cleveland? You can check it … but later. When you sit down to write, write. Don’t do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.

 

The questions I asked myself and found my answers unsettling:

Would my writing have a point after the excess garbage is removed?

Would I “impress” anyone (most importantly myself) should I choose to not look for better, more suitable words in thesaurus?

Will I ever be content with my vocabulary?

What’s my problem with sitting down to write and just writing?

Why is it that my brain hates me so these days?

 

***** Concluding complaints thoughts. *****

I feel hurt by my own self. Not same as guilty, but causing myself true pain – all because I can’t seem to do what my whole being craves. I struggle to transform my daily classroom and life experiences into letters and words on page.

I feel jealous of people blogging incessantly. I feel down I cannot find the right words.

I keep losing faith in myself.

I am not publishing this post to attract attention or fish for head-patting. I am not finding more excuses, rather spilling the heart and pain in it (which is real and tangible) on the page, in no hopes it cures or magically causes catharsis.

It is so different now, and while I’ve certainly settled down in my routine both at home and at work, this one aspect is my daily torture. I do not clear the bar I set myself.

 

Yeah, it will get better.

 

Thanks for reading.

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17 thoughts on “It will get better, it always does.

  1. annazernova says:

    Hi Ann, thanks for your post.
    First of all, it’s very sincere and I love it. Secondly, I do share your emotions and I pretty often feel like this. Thirdly, I guess it’s not only you to face this experience in your blogging practice (or whatever). I do believe, we just need to write. Have you seen this post https://throwingbacktokens.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/teaching-teachers-to-write-from-the-heart/? I’m sure, some pieces of advice will work. Good luck!

    • annloseva says:

      Hi Anna,

      Thanks a lot for leaving this comment. It is a little comforting, even if not entirely surprising,to be reminded that others go through the same pains.. WE need to write, yes, I know we need..)
      I love Josette’s post – thanks so much for bringing me back to it once again! A while ago I practised daily writing meditation in a similar way, just writing for 10-13 minutes about anything. It always feels less demanding and easier than writing articles and blog posts..

  2. Hana Tichá says:

    Dear Anna,

    This is what has just happened:

    1) You have written a post.
    2) You have put one word after another.
    3) You have finished what you were writing.
    4) You have had a point.
    5) Yu have impressed me.

    Hana

    • annloseva says:

      Dear Hana,

      With support as yours it’s hard to keep on sulking about the quality of my writing for long) Thank you. Spelling it out also sort of helps. Maybe..

      Thank you

  3. Dear Anna,
    Although I haven’t commented on your blog before, I’ve been a follower of it for quite some time now and I’ve always enjoyed your posts. I decided to comment now because I know how it feels to dedicate all your effort and energy to a goal which constantly seems elusive and how painful it is to get trapped in a vicious circle of disappointment-discouragement. The answer though lies exactly to what Hana said: Even though when you feel you’ve got nothing of value to say, your writing proves you wrong. Because in this attempt to cite everyting that went wrong with your writing, you’ve managed to move me (and I bet many others too) who saw ourselves in what you wrote. To me, this is writing from the heart. I don’t know if the mechanics or style that make a good writer are reflected in your writing, I don’t even know what would make a “good” writer and a “bad” one. All I know is how you made me feel. And for that reason, please don’t stop writing even when you feel you’re not really writing.

    • annloseva says:

      Thank you. Maria – for using this post to write your first, much appreciated, comment, and for your words of support. It does feel like I am not writing, and the part that brings me down the most is losing confidence.

      I assume I am in such a place in my life right now, a big change does not happen smoothly and without conseqences. Thank you for showing support.

  4. Sandy Millin says:

    Dear Anna,
    Thank you for sharing these struggles with us. As Hana said, you have impressed me. I don’t know many people who could share their struggles so coherently, and in the process you have led me to many other interesting things to read. I know you’re not looking for head-patting, but you /are/ writing about what concerns you, in a heart-felt way, and that’s what blogging should be about. Maybe you could try a couple of audio posts, if it feels like choosing the write words is difficult, just speak them, post them, then come back and type them if it feels better. I agree with Stephen King, that the words you have are the right words, and searching too hard for something different isn’t really necessary. Keeping it as simple as it needs to be is important, and one of the marks of a good writer, and I believe you are one. If you weren’t, we wouldn’t keep coming back to read your posts.
    To finish, in true Mike Griffin style, here are some of my questions for you. I’d love to read the answers in some of your posts, but don’t feel like you’re under any pressure:
    What was it that drew you to Japan? Have you found what you expected there?
    What are the day-to-day realities of your job? The little challenges? The pleasures?
    Do you have any bits of Japanese culture which you’ve found particularly interesting as an outside observer?
    How’s the experience of living in Japan?
    Looking forward to the next thing you write, and I know the words will be the right ones.
    Enjoy your holiday)
    Sandy

    • annloseva says:

      Dear Sandy,

      I feel so thankful for you coming back to read my posts, even if they don’t offer much (as I feel). You mention keeping it simple is the way to go and I guess I want to see myself writing at a level I am not ready for, so that leaves me frustrated. In all truth, I have also been lazy and finding excuses to rest and veg out.

      Thanks a lot for your practical sugestions for my furure post, whenever that comes! Ironically, I have answers to those questions drafted already, here and there. What I need is the right moment and disposition to give it shape. Thank you for being my extra motivation.
      I know writing those answers can (will?!) help me see things clearer.

      Till soon, on this blog or other spaces))

  5. paulwalsh says:

    Writing is tough for everyone. But don’t worry, you have an engaging writing style!

    Have you thought about writing a teacher story? http://teacher-stories.com/

    paul

    • annloseva says:

      Thank you, Paul – for the comforting opinion AND for the info regarding Teacher Stories (I didn’t know about this project). I might write one!! Thank you.

  6. tekhnologic says:

    Hi Ann,

    I can completely relate. The weather in Japan during the summer months always seem to sap my energy, and I just want to relax with the air con on during the evenings. When I do find time to write, it’s not always productive. Sometimes I just end up just staring at a blank screen trying to work out how to expand upon an idea.

    I enjoyed reading this post because I could imagine and understand your frustration. I really like your blog and I am looking forward to reading your next post.

    Take care! T

    • annloseva says:

      Thank you, T

      It is my first summer in Japan, and I didn’t think my writing block could be partly connected with the exhausting weather conditions. Thanks for pointing ths out. I am glad to know I am not alone in my frustration, even if I am sorry that it is actually so))

      Let’s look ahead to brighter, more productive times..

  7. pboc1969 says:

    Um… All I see you do is write! Keep it up!

  8. Chewie says:

    Anna, I’ve always thought of your writing as clear, concise, and introspective. Sometimes it’s hard to write. But you’re trying. Keep at it!

  9. […] 5. answering Sandy’s questions – responding to the questions Sandy Millin left for me in her comment to one of my recent posts […]

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