Why writing only got harder with the years

About depression, anxiety, and self-doubt

When I six years old, I learned how to read and write. The endlessly vast world of books and storytelling was finally open for me to explore all by myself and the joy I found being surrounded by books made me set my mind on, one day, becoming a successful writer.

Fast-forward 18 years and I’m struggling to put two paragraphs that make sense in a blank Word document. The little kid that used to write pages and pages of handwritten narrative fantasies every single day cannot get anything fully written for months; cannot put together a witty text every week to even consider taking forward this childish dream of living and breathing because of their own words.

I think most people know when they’re children what they want for their lives better than they know once they reach adulthood. When you’re a child, everything is more straightforward than it is once you turn 18. You know what you like, you know what you don’t like and you know you will do your best to avoid your dislikes as much as you avoid that food you hate so much (like, say, my distaste for grapes because of their popping nature).

Well, what went wrong, then?

Doubt is added to the equation. Doubt is something you don’t take into consideration when you’re either a child or an early teenager because everything seems so clear and simple in your head. But as you get near your coming of age mark, everything makes you doubt everything: the need for money makes you doubt your career choices; the need for autonomy makes you doubt your long term plans; the need for a better relationship with your family makes you doubt you’ll be able to stand even a month more of living under the same roof as your mother.

And so, your dreams start to slip into the back burner of your mind and you think about them less and less.

I like to tell people that writing isn’t just an innate ability to gather words into nice sentences. It’s about writing over and over again, until you’re satisfied with the text flow, with the message you’re trying to convey, and reading other people’s texts to see how other people get to the same goal with different approaches.

When I stopped writing because of everything else overwhelming me in my life (university, depression, anxiety, self-doubt etc.), I let my words get jumbled and scattered all over my mind. I forgot how to put them together. These first few texts I’m writing sure aren’t yet at the what I’d consider good writing: they’re messy, confusing, to the point they can get a bit pointless if I’m not careful… But you need to start somewhere.

I’m tired of leaving my dreams to rot, locked away somewhere in the back of my mind, as if I’m not worthy of what my child version had envisioned for their future.

Putting yourself out there sure is scary; but becoming someone I don’t like is much worse than risking the possibility of tossing my texts into the void and never being read at all.