How to have a healthy relationship with writing

Moving from love-hate to something else

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”

―Ray Bradbury

I’ve always loved writing, but I’ve been afraid of writing, too.

Because I love it. Because it’s important to me. Because it’s a core expression of who I am, so I don’t want to mess it up.

Most of my life, I’ve had a love-hate relationship with writing.

Actually, more of a love-fear, dread, avoid, obsess over relationship. In other words, not a healthy one.

And I know exactly why.

Our unhealthy beginnings

My relationship with Writing was sporadic, strained, and codependent. I was like a fangirl trying to date a superstar.

We’d go out, me and Writing. I’d be nervous and tongue-tied, awkward and unsure, and totally not myself. After the date, I’d feel miserable and stupid; I’d go over every single thing I did and said wrong. I relived each error, each embarrassment. And I’d swear that Writing was not for me. I’d avoid the phone calls. I wouldn’t answer the texts.

Then, after a few weeks, the memory would fade. I’d get the flutters and jitters and all those infatuated feelings. I’d agree to another date, certain it would go better this time.

And, of course, it would be the same story.

I was infatuated with Writing and thought I was in love. But I was also anxious, star-struck, and uncomfortable.

Of course, I couldn’t relax and be myself and have a good time with Writing. I was way too nervous.

When things changed

Things changed for me and Writing when I decided I couldn’t take it anymore. I wanted to break up, once and for all, but the idea broke my heart. So, instead, I decided to commit to something more serious. More regular.

We started seeing each other every week.

Then it was every day.

At first, I was as uncomfortable and awkward as ever. I felt like every date was a complete waste of time. I was always sure Writing wouldn’t call back.

Slowly, though, something changed. I changed.

Sheer repetition creates familiarity, and guess what familiarity does? It takes away the discomfort.

The more I hung out with Writing, the less nervous and unsure I became. The more I realized that Writing wasn’t some god, some unreachable pinnacle, some flawless wonderland. Writing was sometimes complex, challenging, and intimidating, but, just as often, simple, open, and fun.

Finding mutual love

The more I got to know Writing, the less intimidated I was. And I began to see another side to our relationship: as much as I wanted things to work out with Writing, Writing wanted the same.

I needed Writing; Writing also needed me.

We’re in a good place now, me and Writing. We have a committed relationship. We have our bad days, sure. Sometimes Writing frustrates the crap out of me, and I’m sure I do the same. We have conflicts, but we work them out.

I’ve learned that a healthy relationship doesn’t mean you always feel good, but it does mean you don’t feel scared.

Sometimes I’m not feeling it, so we take a break. But we never take a break for very long. Spending time together and communicating regularly is what makes our relationship work.

We’re a work in progress

Whenever we drift apart, I start feeling like I don’t know Writing anymore. Then I start feeling nervous and unsure about our relationship again.

It’s taken me a long time to realize that those fears don’t come from Writing; they come from me. And that’s okay, too.

It’s like any worthwhile thing; you have to work at it. But the more you work at it, the better it gets. The work turns into play. You move from frustration to flow. And one day you look up and realize you’ve got a good thing going.

This is an old piece of mine that used to be on Medium but Medium is weird and stupid and I’m taking my stuff off there.

✍️ Here are several one-word titled, female-singer songs for you to listen to (it’s a very specific genre). I should make a playlist. Anyway: Games and Tired and Psycho and Seratonin and Vertigo.