Looking back at 2014

We went for a walk in the beautiful Nuuksio national park in Espoo

We went for a walk in the beautiful Nuuksio national park in Espoo

2014 is ending today, and I’m glad for it. It wasn’t a good year for me, not on a personal level and neither on writing level. Struggles and dark days filled the year. Every good day made me hopeful for more good days, while every bad day made me despair, and wonder if I could ever clean up this mess that is my life.

There were, however, a few bright moment during the year. I attended great concerts. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship on the Ring in Concert forms the musical peak of this year. I cannot express how grateful I am that I got to experience this masterful soundtrack played live by an orchestra, and impressive choir. I changed university and switched from Dutch and English linguistics and literature to Swedish and English.

Kayak trip in the Helsinki archipelago

Kayak trip in the Helsinki archipelago

The best that happened is the past year is, doubtlessly, my second holiday in Helsinki. In 2013 my boyfriend and I travelled to this beautiful capital at the end of September. Now we went in July and had the most beautiful weather.  A lot of sun, and temperatures fit for swimming made this holiday so much different than the one in September. We did a lot of different things then the previous time, and even the second time spending a week in the city, Helsinki still managed to enchant me with its beauty, and its atmosphere. It was the only time I can remember being truly at peace for more than a day. And I did not want to go home.

I hope that 2015 will be a better year, and I will work hard for that. I might add another post soon where I talk about my few New Year’s resolutions that could help me to make the upcoming year great. Unfortunately this time of the year is a very busy period. I have a month of exams coming up and I still have a lot of studying to do. I hope everyone had a better 2014, and may 2015 be amazing!

Helsinki as seen from the sea.

Helsinki as seen from the sea.

I hate my writing

Finally, another blogpost!
I hope to blow new life into this blog and spend and share some of my thoughts. I have, however, exams coming in two month, and this blog is not my first priority to spend my free time on.

The explanation for my absence here also connected to the topic I want to talk about today. I didn’t blog for such a long time because I didn’t feel well. Actually, it’s an understatement. I felt absolutely awful. And I still feel like that sometimes. Unfortunately this is connected to my writing.

Writing has been going badly for me. At times just the thought of writing makes me nervous and stressed. Why? I don’t like my own writing. I hate it. I feel as though everything I write lacks soul, and thus feels flat, emotionless, and perhaps even fake. It’s like a plastic plant instead of a real one. At a first glance, from a distance, it might look okay, but when I get close to it again, I can see that it is not real. The leaves feel fake, and the flowers have no scent, except for the terrible smell of plastic. That makes me feel horrible. Even though I’m just working on a silly story with a friend, it still makes me feel like a failure. I want achieve a certain quality. I want to think that my writing is okay with perhaps here and there a paragraph that is good.

I need to let go of that feeling, and learn to enjoy writing again. But it’s incredibly hard. I see my writing, and other things (and currently I see most of them in the same negative light as writing) as an extension of myself. Something I measure my worth with, and that is completely wrong. A part of me will end up in my writing, but no matter the quality of my writing, I will never be my writing. A bad piece of writing should never be able to make me see myself as worthless or a failure. And yet I keep doing that. That is the reason why I have so much trouble with writing.

If I can manage to pull myself, as a person, free from my writing and see until a certain extend as something completely separate of me, something I have created but isn’t me, it can become easier to enjoy writing again. When I find my joy in writing again, it could be possible that dealing with other things that make me feel bad becomes easier. Perhaps writing can be my therapy again. A long journey still lies ahead.

The end of the co-writing project

I made the decision about the co-writing project earlier than planned. I’m not going to continue with it. I’m not sure if it is the right decision but I doubt a lot about a great many things. Sometimes you just have to make a choice and try not thinking ‘what if I picked the other option?’ I’m actually not entirely sure why I decided to stop the project. There were a couple of issues involved and maybe all of them together made me decide or perhaps it was like a little leap of faith. There wasn’t one big issue.

I’m bad with teamwork. I prefer doing things on my own and more importantly, at my tempo. I liked working with my co-writer, especially exchanging ideas but I don’t have a lot of patience. I like to do things on my tempo. I dislike waiting for someone to finish something before I can go on with something else. This was a minor problem, but it was something that remained in the back of my head at all times. Especially because as soon as school is out, which in exactly a week for me, I don’t have an obligations any more and I can spend as much time writing as I want to. My co-writer has other things to do and isn’t dependent on writing to keep her from being bored. She’s lucky.

Another bigger element is that she’s a much better writer and storyteller. The quality difference between the pieces we write is enormous. I spend a lot of effort in improving my writing by reading a lot and not only fiction but also books and blogposts about writing. I don’t depend only on them. I try to find my own voice but the search continues. My co-writer seems to be natural. I do think that when you write together you need to complement each other and work and help to improve each other. For us, it was a one way deal. I couldn’t help her get better. I couldn’t strengthen her weak spots.

The funny thing is, however, that we still write together. Not a serious story with the goal to get it published but just another round-robin story we do for fun. Yet I doubt again if it’s such a good idea. When I read her pieces I get confronted with how much better her writing is. It’s something that should make me feel bad, but it does and it makes writing difficult. Sometimes I’m not sure if I still want to write. Especially because I have ideas of a story of my own but I can’t set myself to it. I can’t concentrate longer on it than half an hour. So maybe writing is not something that’s for me.

My life is currently a roller-coaster that seems to go down most of the time. Maybe if I manage to figure other things out writing will become easier again. Perhaps I shall stumble across an idea that will start a passionate fire that can’t be extinguished. But right now writing is a big struggle and so are a lot of other things in life. I might try to document my struggle with writing here, but just writing this blogpost was a whole struggle. Excuse me for its lack of a decent structure and I hope I don’t bore you with posts like these. If you ever had some kind of struggle with writing, or life, feel free to share in the comments.