by Kate Ward ’23
“As an English Major, you must love writing!” God, if only I had a tally over my head each time I heard that throughout college. And I do, I do love writing, but sometimes it’s a little much with three papers due a week plus an awkward Cowl deadline on the day I’m supposed to be relaxing. As much as I love to write, I can’t help the constant threat of burnout or the anxious feeling of when my inspiration will run out. The uninspired feeling is one that is particularly brutal for me. Why? Because mentally I have ideas and storylines that I want to write and indulge in, but…I can’t. Every word on the page I hate, nothing fits, nothing sounds good, nothing encapsulates the way I want this character to sound. I can’t remember the last time I wrote something that either wasn’t for a grade or wasn’t extremely forced.
I enjoy bringing short pieces to life for The Cowl, but I hate shouldering the weight. The impending doom of a Saturday or Sunday submission deadline makes my stomach turn. I’m more of a machine than a writer—of course, I want to produce quality work for my friends and professors, but as of late, everything is rushed—it doesn’t fit. But English Majors must love to write! The past two weeks have been the most difficult, balancing a thirteen-page workshop story with essays coming in hot and now this piece I’m writing. In fact, I’m only writing this piece because I have nothing else creative to write. I am all consumed by my severe loss of inspiration. I’m struggling to hit the five hundred word minimum for this piece and this is coming from someone who wrote four hundred pages freshman year for fun.
I know I can take breaks and step back from writing. I also know I chose this major and I chose it because I love it. I do love to write but I don’t like the hangover it gives, the meter ticking away as it draws closer to burnout. It’s a drug and when I’m high on writing it’s great, but it’s the lows I’m worried about. I know I’m not the only person who has this struggle, which is comforting. I do know how sometimes my writing friends express how it’s easier to write academic papers than take a break and try to write something creative. It breaks my heart to hear my friends who are so passionate about writing say this, because who exactly takes pleasure in writing essays? No one. If you do, no offense, but creative writing is way more fun, try it out—maybe even a little academic fanfic will help you get off the track of academia. But, hey! English majors do love to write. So, it’s okay, inspiration will return (in a few weeks) but at the mental cost of not being able to produce content up to your internal standards! Good luck!