This is how I stopped writing


I used to write almost every day for more than a decade and true enough, with practice comes confidence. I have grown more accustomed to the way my mind works whenever I write. Once I start, the messy ideas untangle. I have a natural way with words and what others hate about writing are the very reasons why I love it. There is joy in the struggle of finding the right word in describing a feeling you only know deep inside you. Sharing it with others and making them feel the same is already a miracle.

I used to do that. But it didn’t last long.

For the past two years, what seemed easy became a chore I dreaded. My love for writing turned into a feeling of despair. I was too afraid to create something mediocre. I was too scared to fail. So, I didn’t bother.

I lost track of my writing and until a few days ago, I couldn’t write about anything. How did I lose my touch with words? I already knew the answer but I was never the type to confront my enemies head-on. But this is something that matters to me and losing this skill would mean losing an important part of me.

That’s why this answer matters.

Writing became a struggle because I stopped reading. That’s it. Nothing fancy, nothing dramatic. It’s as plain as that. Like most people of my generation, I’m glued to my phone. My attention span has become so short, I can’t even finish a book anymore. What used to be hours and hours of reading reduced to finishing a chapter. Now, it’s even a struggle to read a few paragraphs without stopping.

It is no wonder then that I find it harder to express my thoughts and my truths. I have no one to refer to. Nothing inspires me as much as books did. The thoughts that I have been writing about before were all driven by the stories I’ve read. Different authors helped me create a world of possibilities through the use of words.

There are experiences that are hard to share. You can’t find the words to describe all your pent-up grief and frustration. But if you don’t know how to write it on your own, you can always find someone who will tell your story for you. That’s how I did it. That’s how I managed to write portions of my life.

Haruki Murakami once wrote a passage about how memories turn murky as years go by. I still remember how I felt when I came across that paragraph. For quite some time, I never thought I can find the right words to describe the feeling of being betrayed by your own memories. But he did it.

I was partly right. I was not able to tell that story because Murakami already did that for me. He wrote an experience that I never thought was possible to share. That’s what I want to do. I want to be good enough to write about experiences that are difficult to tell.

Someday, if lucky, I will become a Murakami to somebody.


picsart_10-21-06334424444.pngSyrine Gladys Podadera is the founder of The Diarist Projects. By starting this online platform, she hopes to encourage aspiring writers to share their talents and inspire others.

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