Question: what do you do when you’re no longer good at what you’re good at? What you’ve always been good at?
Last week, my writing professor handed back the news stories we’d written, an assignment I’d worked hard on after phoning-in the first one. The night before I turned it in I read it out loud to my sister over the phone.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I’ve been having trouble with the organization.”
“No,” she replied. “It’s good, Abs, really good.”
I breathed a sigh of relief. I trust my sister’s judgment more than anyone’s.
But when I got the assignment back, I read through the little edits and positive comments, all the way to the bottom where a glaring B- was circled. I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t gotten a grade that bad on a writing assignment since Junior year of high school, when I was enrolled in AP Language and Composition—and I consider that class to be a watershed moment, where my writing potential turned into actual skill.
I was crushed. More than crushed, actually. This one grade sent me into a downwards spiral of self-doubt and shook the very foundation of my academic career. Writing is what I do and I’ve never been interested in something else.
I sat through my 11:00 lecture utterly miserable.
Even a week later, my confidence in my writing ability is still shaken. Even after I talked to my professor and when she said she was going to reconsider my grade. I know I’ve never wanted to be a journalist, so it shouldn’t be a huge deal, right? Creative writing is a better fit for me, right?
“Don’t waste time waiting for inspiration. Begin, and inspiration will find you.” -H. Jackson Brown Jr.
Things have been compounding on top of me. I started a new job this weekend (some stupid one that hardly matters but pays), got sick again, and have been battling the predictable loneliness that comes with being away from friends and family. And now, words are harder to come by than ever.
Lately my thoughts have been meandering about my brain; yesterday I spent all day trying to research a paper and wrote less than a hundred words. I can only hope that by trying to write some of this down it will release the floodgates and I will actually be able to write again. No, to think again.