As a child, I was an eager writer. I would pen down short stories, create mini-storybooks for circulation. I kept a diary that contained my random musings, pointing out particular words and conversations that stuck to my mind.
The urge to tell stories is innate in all of us. But as I grow older, I find it harder to rekindle this love. And I believe a big part of it is due to the demands of school and work.
In school, we are told to “write your name” on every assignment and we are critiqued and criticized on each piece we write. It becomes easy for us to believe that our thoughts don’t actually count.
At work, there is simply no space for unfiltered emotions, frivolous details. Any form of work correspondence should be as concise and factual as possible (cue Amazon email writing tips).
Unconsciously, I started self-censoring my words, making sure to only convey key facts. This permeated my personal life where I couldn’t seem to journal beyond facts of the day at the start. ‘I had noodles for lunch, it was yummy. I worked out this morning, feeling good about myself.’
I miss the long trains of thought I used to have over the smallest incident and the ease with which the words used to flow. Perhaps it’s a function of the minimal unstructured time I have as an adult, I miss unabashedly penning down the mutiny of my day.
And so I hope to relearn how to write again, how to add details and colour to my writing without weighing it down.
Some tips I found helpful:
1. Allow yourself to feel
You are your own main character in a Netflix series. Romanticize your life. Life is as epic as you feel it to be. Allowing myself to feel into my feelings is something I feel I was not permitted as an adult.
With each passing day in adulthood, as we age and mature, there is an implicit expectation that we become experts at emotional regulation. We have traded the emotional highs and lows for more balanced, nuanced expressions.