In elementary, I played the piano.
I loved it. The sound of each note, the click clack of the keys beneath my fingers. My feet could barely touch the pedals. I would listen to music and ache with an intense hunger to know how to make something so beautiful. But I dreaded recitals, performances.
In middle school, I started horse riding.
I grew to love the smell of leather, the tack room, the soft velvet of a horse’s nose. The freedom I felt when riding, how my stresses were trampled away under thundering hooves. But my riding instructor wanted me to compete, said there was no point riding otherwise.
In high school, I did cross country.
This time, I knew it was a competitive sport. I knew that the goal was to run fast, to win the race. But once again, I didn’t see it in that way. I loved the harmony of my limbs moving together, the adrenaline spike after a long run. I hated the timers, the metrics, the comparisons.
Today, I don’t play piano, I don’t ride, and I certainly don’t run.
Today, I write fiction.
I love the adrenaline rush of a new idea, of new characters unfolding. I love the freedom, how it burns away my stress. I love writing those climactic scenes that make your heart ache.
Writing gives me everything my previous hobbies gave me, and more. It’s the ONE. It matters.
Yet… I stopped writing recently.
Last month I talked about the lies I told myself: that I didn’t have time to write. I realise now that it’s my responsibility to change the status quo, and part of that will involve holding myself accountable.
Thinking back, I fell out of love with the piano, riding and running once they became competitions. Once I became good enough that either those around me — or I myself — began to expect more. Once I realised that I wasn’t as good as I wanted to be. That I might never be as good as I wanted to be.
Every time I’ve set myself targets (x number of words per day, finish the novel by this date, etc) — I’ve hit a wall, and failed.
And now that I’ve been struggling to write, I wonder: have I hit this same wall? The barrier of my own expectations, the pressure to win?
So I’m going to start small, and promise myself one thing: Tuesday night is writing night. It doesn’t matter how many words I write, or which project I work on.
I’m not here to win anything; I’m here to rediscover why I love writing.
Because, after all, writing is THE ONE.