Dear Medium, It’s Not You, It’s Me

Ever just feel like you don’t fucking know what to write?

It’s a weird thing.

There are a multitude of haphazard drafts languishing in my unpublished stories: thoughts on kayaking and moving to the country and shredding my teenage journals and quitting SSRIs how I’ve spent seven years and eight months posting to Instagram.

And yet none of it feels inspired enough to spark the flow I so deeply relish when it comes to the process of writing.

Medium is a weird thing.

I truly and honestly didn’t anticipate what my involvement here would look like beyond the fact that I needed to start writing again. I didn’t have any clue there was such a culture and community saturating this platform, which is good — it’s great!

It’s also distracting and terrible for me as a fledgling writer. Namely, because there is a constant chorus of voices sermonizing on how I can get better value from my “experience” here (read: how I can improve my chances of earning actual money).

I tell myself over and over again that the potential to make money is unimportant — that my main purpose for being here is to continue to challenge my abilities as a writer and figure out what I have to contribute with my voice.

All the stories about Medium success and Medium failure and the overall Medium experience are unavoidable, but they also get on my nerves sometimes (particularly at times like now, when I’m feeling frustrated with this process and seemingly incapable of forming my words into something decent and presentable).

I tell myself I don’t care about the potential for money — that anything earned is secondary to the process of getting to know myself better as a writer. But, it’s also hard not to feel a small sense of victory seeing cents turn into dollars. It’s hard not to to be distracted by fantasies of success and to get sucked once more into another article telling me “how I earned x-thousand dollars writing on Medium” (ENOUGH, already).

I want to write, and I don’t want to write.

I want to write because the very process of organizing my thoughts into words — it feels right. It’s catharsis and release and the triumph of saying what I feel.

And at the same time, I don’t want to write because I don’t know what to say or how I feel, and because the desire to write is too often mixed up in the belief that I’m not “keeping up”, that I’m failing to be good at Medium…even though I never really agreed to be “good at Medium” in the first place.

I actually told myself I was taking a break from writing this week. I told myself there will be plenty of time to spend writing in the fall, as the days slowly grow shorter and the weather turns wet and my energy starts to pull inward with the shift in seasons.

I told myself all this to liberate myself of the pressure of feeling like I need to be producing, and still I’m struggling with the sense I’m failing (and mad at myself for feeling this way).

Tomorrow we leave for three nights of camping. Four days and three nights away from computers and claps and the expectation that I could be doing better.

I am ready.

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