Fraught Words: Having creative struggles

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When I was a child, I dreamed of being a writer. It seemed like the perfect job; letting your imagination run riot, expressing your thoughts tangibly, and then watching as others immersed themselves in your creations.

But creativity can also be a cruel and unforgiving beast.

As much as I enjoy writing, sometimes even expelling just one word from my mind to paper is simply agony. I know my creative thoughts are in my head somewhere; I can feel them bubbling beneath the surface, willing me to express them; and yet, somehow, I just cannot get to them. I scrabble and scrabble at the inside of my brain, willing myself on in the hope that I will suddenly discover a throbbing vein of imagination – but it never happens. Or, rather, it does – but not when I wanted it to. My inability to access the creative spark I thought I had fills me with such a fear of inadequacy, instead of draining these concerns away as I believed expressing myself would. If I cannot write, I have nothing. Sometimes I truly believe I cannot form another sentence, as my imagination seems to be as far away as possible from “the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings” as Wordsworth said, and I had imagined it would be.

When I do manage to forge something from my tumultuous mind, it is never enough. It seems meagre and pathetic and worthless in comparison to others’ works; I see that so clearly. I cannot write like others do. I want to have my own style, but there is a thin line between this and what can be classed as poetry. Real poetry has a spark I fear mine will never have.

If my poetry can never fully be classed as poetry, then what is the point? In typical Cambridge fashion, I perpetually worry my efforts are insignificant, whereas others’ are meaningful and valuable. If the only writing I can form has been extracted with such effort, and sown together so haphazardly, maybe I should not write at all.

Yet I love writing, even if sometimes it merely amplifies my anxieties about my progress. I know that writing is what I want to do with my life and my future; even if sometimes I fear I am not good enough. But, when you love doing something so very much, and you are so desperate to succeed, these feelings are expected. Giving writing up, for me, is out of the question.

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