When I was still studying college, I thought that maybe I can't write short stories and the likes because all I know is writing poems, essays, news and feature stories. I did not even really write at the time I joined our college publication but drew an editorial cartoon. But let's not delve on the illustrative side I have in my genes.
I mostly edit articles since I started fifth grade after joining the annual campus journalism contests from my school to entering the national levels for this event which just stopped when I was in my second year of college. I want to focus more on my studies and I already won second place on the nationals. No need to extend that further.
Back to writing other genres, I have doubts about my abilities. Tons of it! I am scared that I may tell too much but not show enough. I may not evoke feelings but would make my stories look like a narrative essay with no description at all, an oratorical speech with emotions rising like and falling like those wars we encountered since civilization started progressing up or a rant that would not even benefit anyone but me because I have let stuff out. I am too scared, frightened and those thoughts seem to eat me. I am no J.K. Rowling, Louisa May Alcott, Virginia Woolf, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, Tahereh Mafi or Margaret Atwood to have the guts to write stories.
Then one day, I have this page liked in one of my social media for some reason because they have writing contests. Soon enough I was already joining the contests. I used my phone to type the poems and stories. Sometimes I also use my laptop if there are word counts.
The phone I typed my first entry to their contest was lost in my hands back in 2018 because of stupidity. Even so, I learned writing a vivid poem there. It was melodic and gets you in that nostalgic mood of listening to the rain. I have entered that in one of their poem writing contests. Originally, it was my college output for creative writing. It was fun improving something you have already finished but you know that it still was not final in a way.
Shortly after writing poems, I started writing stories for their contests too. I think the first one I wrote was something I experienced in my life and turned it into an allegory of sorts. I love doing that. No one knows that it happened to me or something. I think it didn't win too because it's not showing the readers but more of retelling the story which was wrong for me to do. I also started a novel which I never finished because I ran out of ideas and it doesn't seem to be worth the time for readers. It's so lame that even Jo March would laugh at me for it.
With my first failure in writing stories, I tried to practice more and learned more about writing concrete imageries. Then, I tried to learn more about using similes and metaphors. I added those in my writing but my stories felt unreal as I used more figurative language. I don't know what happened there. Maybe I used it too much it got alien-like in a way. With that, a writer's blocked occured to me once in a while.
But with my ideas getting sucked up in a downward spiral of a writer's block, I sluggishly quit writing. I have no ideas left and a year after, my confidant in that page died of her illness six months after the lockdown in my country happened. It felt so heavy for me writing stuff with my best critic gone. It felt like the scene in the current series I am waiting for another season: one character there stopped using his power because of frustration and fear. He was one of the few of his kind left and was being chased by evil people. If you're being chased by bad guys and goons because you have power, who would not stop right? Surely, you'd want to go lowkey about it but you won't give up making that power dead. So you suppress it slightly.
Those two 'f' words in the 4th sentence of the 8th paragraph really get the best of us when it hits us hard and could surely drag us to rock bottom if we don't get control of it. Take Jo March of Little Women. She was an avid writer but after her sister died, she felt empty, alone and lonely. She lost one of her motivations to write. But remembering her sister saying, "Write something for me because you're a writer even before anyone knew or paid you. You can do it for someone else like Marmee taught us to do," that made the writer of the March sisters be enlightened as she faced grief from her sister's death. She turned grief into her muse to write again. Sadly, I have no sisters to lean on to when I have writer's block. All I can do is survive for myself.
It's possible that what I'm doing now is honoring the same person I trust as my critic in writing. It's also possible that I'm doing this to counter my grief for her. I do miss her like Jo misses Beth a lot. Likewise, I'm probably doing this to make myself useful for my family that even if I am lazy with household chores, I could earn with writing. Even if they would not really know of it.
I don't want this skill to go to waste. I want that friend and critic to see me pursue what we love in our life. I want her to see how those things she taught me made me improve and that I'd want to apply those in what I write. Maybe not all short stories but a variety of genre. We promised to make a novel but her illness worsened. She could not even get out already at the time the pandemic started. She's not inhaling at present the fresh air I'm still breathing right now. So I want her in heaven to know I got back to writing.
"I intend to make my own way in this world too. Writing does not really confer importance but reflects it," quoting Jo. And that is the best it could get. Turn a dilemma or fear into strength and inspiration, and it will punch you in the stomach to release the words you'd want the world to know even if no one will hear them.