What I Learned As An Artist Who Fell Out Of Love With Her Craft

I was eight when I wrote my first story. I was inspired by an encounter that I witnessed at an afterschool club. A girl at the club made fun of a boy because of what he brought for lunch that day. I had seen many altercations like this before; I braced myself and waited for the fight to break out, it never came. Instead, he calmly replied to her, “It’s better than nothing.”

At that time in my life, I didn’t understand that level of maturity; the boy’s response to the situation expressed a gratitude for being able to have a meal, something that would be a privilege to the many starving children who didn’t have one. It moved me to write a short story about it; that was the first time I put my emotions to paper.

That experience opened a literary world that I hadn’t known before. It was one that didn’t involve writing because I had to but because I wanted to. Soon, I took to reading, writing’s twin flame. Letting reading fuel me to write and writing fuel me to read, an endless cycle ensued. I read everything that came my way from "The Hunger Games," "Harry Potter," to "The Fault in Our Stars," to "Twilight." In front of me, endless possibilities of worlds that I could create, characters I could bring to life, and people I could move.

As I got older though, everything began to change. Writing and reading in school became more intensive. It didn’t matter that I was naturally good at writing anymore, especially while taking AP English courses that told me that my interpretations were wrong, or that the curtains weren’t just blue. It didn’t get any better when I got to college and soon enough I stopped writing and reading for myself entirely. My passion was absent from something that I once used to define myself. The only words I could manage stand were the ones that were not my own. I then tried to force myself back into it, thinking that I wasn’t trying hard enough, or that I didn’t want it enough. I tried starting where it all began, reading old stories that compelled me to write, writing prompts that I found on the internet. Nothing seemed to work.

It wasn’t until one day I was dealing with something in my life and writing the only way I could communicate my feelings. My writing wasn’t pretty or poetic, it was sloppy, raw, and unedited. But it was real. I realized then that I never fell out of love with writing in the first place, I had just lost the passionate emotions that had gone with it. I didn’t need to force myself back into my old writing and reading habits, I had to make new ones. I realized that I had grown, and in doing so, so did my writing. My interests changed and so did my art. Trying to approach writing with my old methods was like trying to become the person that I was once, like trying to go back in time.

I needed to relearn to do what I love most and for me that meant taking time, getting space, not keeping it as a constant solid foundation, and letting it change when I did. Being an artist is tricky. So much of ourselves are put into our work. Our art is like the parts of us we don’t reveal to others very often, but when we do, it is not easily forgotten. Art doesn’t always have to be so intense all the time, sometimes it just has to be a little gesture to let you know it’s there. It’s okay if it becomes something that you feel distant with as time passes, just like everything we love in life, if it meant for you, it will come back.

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