I can’t write

I can’t write.

I can’t write. I know it may be an unusual thing to write, three words of contradiction, but there it is. I can’t write. I try; have been trying for the last ten years to be a writer. I have the first draft of more than three books done, countless ideas jotted down in literally over 20 notebooks, each one started with a rush of enthusiasm, convinced this one would be different. Every purchase, the smell of new paper, the promise, the potential, they aren’t even half finished. Some of them don’t even have a quarter of the pages filled. Every few years I pack them away, unable to throw them out. Five pages here, six pages there, a half complete character rolled into the mix. The sheer time and paper wasted could have seen the completion of at least two completed novels and a couple of short stories. The abandonment. What have I done to you all?

I can’t write. I waste time. I don’t know if it is habit or self-destruction, but I waste time as if it is infinite. I spend it on countless websites, designed with this very purpose. Designed for me to spend time in front of them, wasting my talent and potential. These are the thoughts that go through my head as I flick through them on my phone in the evening, knowing what I could be doing, what I could be achieving. But I don’t. I just flicked over to check my email while I was typing this. I concentrated for exactly seven minutes on this article, before I lost interest, got distracted, and had to remind myself what I was doing.

I can’t write. I took out a loan to go to a writing course in Dublin a few years ago, tacking it on to the loans I took out to finished my Masters. I drove up and down every Wednesday for almost 6 months of my life. It was exhausting. Every week I would leave inspired and energized, but by the time I drove the two hours home, I would just exhausted and irritated. It was usually 1am before I got home, hating writing. I usually left inspired except for one time. Those who were attending the course didn’t like it, and so it was changed. It went from looking for inspiration, to looking for criticism, which we got. In droves. I never went looking for that criticism. I was just starting out, trying to find my voice. Trying to find my inspiration.  I don’t have tough skin. The course was not a good idea for me. It left me hating writing, feeling like I was wasting time, that I would never be good enough. I recently met the head of the course, a literary agent, at the book launch of someone who had actually managed to finish a book. I wasn’t prepared to see her there. It was a non-fiction book about Bunratty I had done research for. I was probably looking for a project to avoid writing. She asked me what I was doing, was I writing? I said not really, no. She told me, ‘but why? You have so much talent.’ Are you fucking kidding me? I blame this course sometimes for why I don’t write, that it crushed my spirit, my love of writing. This is all true, but even before I started this course, I hadn’t finished anything.

I can’t write. I worry some times that it is driving me insane. Writing calms my brain, brings me peace, but I can’t do it. As soon as I pick up the pen, the questions start. Stories that used to start with enthusiasm now starts with angst and worry. What is the point? You won’t finish it anyway, why even bother starting? Those voices in your head, they are screaming at you. They need to be written too. They want their stories told. Why can wont you finished them?

I can’t write. I am too lazy, have not enough direction. I have waste too much time. I’m lost. I can’t find my talent, can’t find my motivation. It’s not gone. I never had it. No matter what I manage to achieve in life it will never matter, because the one thing I wanted to be, more than anything is a writer. And I have never finished a book. I get in my own way. I am the reason, I can’t write.

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