letters | after thoughts #atozchallenge

letters | a to z | what sandra thinks

Dear Everyone,

Now that the A to Z challenge is over, I can plainly see that my heart just wasn’t in it. My heart wasn’t in it last year either, but I think this year was worse. I haven’t been happy with my A to Z posts since 2018’s Dear Diary story. Since then, I’ve been forcing myself, and that’s evident in my writing. I’m not proud of it… any of it.

My hope was that pushing myself to do this challenge would get me writing again, but I think it has only made me realize how much it pains me that I can’t. Or can’t do it well. I don’t want to quit. I don’t want to give it up. I don’t think I could give it up. I just hate the products of my efforts, and I have for months. So. Fucking. Many. Months.

It started at the end of 2018. My posts became less and less frequent. Soon, I started disappearing for a few days at a time… then a few weeks… then a month. This has been going on for over a year, but it feels longer.

I remember the reasons I started blogging 4 1/2+ years ago, but those very same reasons seem meaningless now. I don’t have a mission, a goal, an endgame anymore (if I ever really did in the first place). Maybe I am writing just to write? Still, though, I feel good when I come up with words and terrible when I don’t. It makes me push myself, often too much. You can’t force it, you know? I mean, you can, but then it sucks.

I go back, sometimes, and read some of my old posts. And a few things jump out at me.

Let’s start with the bad: Evidence demonstrates that in my 4 1/2+ years of blogging, I have not improved, and have maybe regressed, with the state of my anxiety and depression. I’m also struck by how nothing I have written in the last six to twelve months is as good as what I wrote prior.

And the good: I wrote some damn good poetry, particularly, but also good fiction. Even my personal shit seemed well written. But the poetry… I literally say to myself, aloud, ‘Damn! I wrote that?!?’ I’m not one to pat myself on the back, but I was good. Was.

But the good, for me, as usual, is overshadowed by the bad. I imagine I will never recapture the quality (and quantity) of my past writing. Reading my old poetry, for example, makes me more sad than proud. Where did my inspiration go? Where is my muse? Gone.

And then there are the relationships. I used to feel so close to some of you, but now I feel like I’m on the outside looking in. Or on the inside looking out. Yeah, that’s more like it. Everyone is out playing at the playground, but I can only watch from my window. I struggle to go outside. And if I do break the chains and go outside, I feel like I don’t belong there.

Maybe I wish someone would come and be inside with me.

All of that aside, I do hope you enjoyed my a-to-z letters. This was my fifth completed A to Z challenge. I hope to continue doing them well into the future. It’d be pretty cool to say I’ve done ten of them someday. But that’s far off. You know, five years from now. Jesus, my son will be 20. Okay, I don’t want to think about this anymore!


p.s. — This was supposed to be my ‘reflections’ post after the A to Z challenge, but it turned into whatever the hell this is. I guess I reflected…? But I got seriously off topic. That seems about right, though. 


©2020 what sandra thinks

About what sandra thinks

Sandra is a writer, sometimes blogger, poet, artist, emotional disaster. She thinks far too much and sleeps far too little. Sandra lives in the Northeastern U.S. but dreams of an oceanfront home in Italy, but she would settle for a non-oceanfront home in Italy. She loves books, brutal honesty, coffee, and the color black. She hates insincerity, beer, whipped cream, and facebook. And she is uncomfortable talking about herself in the third person.
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48 Responses to letters | after thoughts #atozchallenge

  1. gigglingfattie says:

    I also hoped that this would bring me back into writing motivation. Same as you last year was half and this year not much better. Ugh

    I enjoyed your letters this year! It was a good theme!! And you do write excellent poetry ☺️

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m glad you liked my letters. I thought some of them were okay, others were just blah.

      I wish I could still write good poetry, though. I try… and I just come up with crap… or nothing at all. I just have no inspiration anymore. I don’t know what happened to me. It’s not like I have a lost love or anything. Things haven’t really changed for me in years…

      Liked by 1 person

      • gigglingfattie says:

        I kind of feel the same way with my own writing. Not that I’ve lost love but that I can’t do it anymore. Idk what’s happened either. I’m trying to not put too much pressure on myself to write. I know it’s hard but it’s all I can do right now, and just hope that I can get back into it

        Liked by 1 person

  2. You know you can write. If poetry is it, go with it. You know my stance on this subject. It hasn’t changed. Fuck yesterday. Fuck five years from now. If you need to write, write about whatever the hell today brings. Inspiration is everywhere, good, bad, or otherwise. Don’t make me rainbow and butterfly you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I had missed out on a few of your posts but congratulations on making it till the end.
    But reading your afterthought, I felt like I had to comment. Sometimes we feel like what we are writing is not good enough. I’ve been there too. I have looked at my posts and wondered if I’ll ever be able to write like that. That very thought is intimidating. And it can make you feel as if the best is behind you. But please do not go down that road. Inspiration will always be around. You just have to seize it. I also had a phase where I thought I’ll never be able to write more poetry. But I kept reading the works of so many amazing bloggers. Miraculously, I’ve started writing poems again. Something that I had thought would never happen! Don’t give up. Remember, we can be our worst judges. We need to cut ourselves some slack from time to time. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad that you were able to start writing again. I don’t feel like that will happen for me. It’s been well over a year. The best is behind me. I don’t have any doubt about that. It’s like so many other areas of my life… and it’s too late… it’s ridiculous to think things will turn around. I’m not in my 20s anymore… or my 30s for that matter. How long can I bother hoping for something that’s obviously never going to happen? It just feels stupid at this point.

      Inspiration… for me, it’s gone. I don’t have any. Everything around me just feels bleak and empty. The harder I try to find inspiration, the worse I feel when I don’t find it. Most of the time, giving up seems like the best possible decision.


  4. I enjoyed your A to Z very much indeed Sandra. OK, some were a struggle for you, a couple you gave up on, but you did it. Well done!
    I really hope I’m around to see your 10th anniversary A to Z.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hey it’s okay… don’t be too hard on yourself, you know?

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Letting it out isn’t a bad thing. That’s sometimes what I use mine for. Mostly though mine is used to go a bit crazy… it’s to let of steam whatever color it may be. I dont put any pressure on the writing in there, I try to spell check… maybe 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. ‘writing just to write’ is probably the best reason to do it. Is there any reason to dance other than ‘just to dance’?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I suppose not. I’m not sure why ‘writing just to write’ never seems like enough. I think in my head, that means scribbling down random things that make no sense and aren’t worth sharing. I guess I want to write something worth sharing.


      • What would I know? Nobody wants to read 99% of my stuff. And the other 1% is only just tolerated. But I’m sure that if was ever to write something of genuine merit then it will come from ‘writing just to write’ and not pandering to what I believe other people might want to read. Scribble down those random thoughts that make no sense. Then edit them.

        Liked by 1 person

        • I’m sure your stuff is more than tolerated… but I see your point. I don’t understand most of what my brain tells me. Well, no, I understand it, but it takes me a while to realize it’s misguided, I guess. Or just plain wrong. My severe lack of confidence makes me question everything, writing included. I worry too much about what others think.


  8. jrvincente says:

    My reflections post is way off topic, too. It felt like a lament.

    I have to admit that when I look down the list of emails of blog posts that have come in, I always click on yours, even when I don’t have time for anything else. ❤ It's refreshing to read someone who is honest and forthcoming when most of the world is just…fake. Hang in there. I'm glad you're out there writing, even sporadically!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow, thank you. You’ve made my day. ♥ Especially since I feel terrible that I’ve not done well keeping up with reading blogs.

      I don’t know if I’ll ever understand why people like reading a lot of what I write — especially lately. I feel so isolated that my thoughts are overwhelmed with my emotions and I can barely write much else. And I’m not that exciting! But as for being honest, well, I don’t have the energy to be fake. Maybe it’s my relative anonymity. I’m not sure, but I find it easy to be open and truthful. Much easier than pretending to be something I’m not.

      Liked by 1 person

      • jrvincente says:

        I’m with you. How can we be fake? But the thing is that it’s so easy to only post the good things, and I feel like that’s a lot of what’s on social media. So, thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

        • I agree with that — most people only post the good stuff on social media. They paint their lives as perfect in pretty much every way. That’s why I quit facebook and will never go back. Every time I read anything from old school friends, I left feeling like total shit because their lives were so much better than mine. But are they really? I’ll never know… but it still made me feel like crap.

          Liked by 1 person

          • jrvincente says:

            I totally understand. I actually had a friend reach out and say, “Hey, your Facebook always looks happy, but how are you really doing?” It was sweet.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Seida Yenge says:

            Being honest with yourself is the best thing that you can be.Check out my poem titled ‘Cherish Failure” and yo will understand why we must appreciate our downfalls as much as our upbringings or upliftments.


  9. I’m just finding your blog so don’t know your history so take this for whatever it’s worth but my reaction reading this and the comments – maybe give yourself permission not to try and just to be for a while. ‘Trying’ feels like you’ve assigned some expectation to what it ‘should’ be, like you’re judging yourself before you’ve even begun. One of my friends told me once she didn’t believe in ‘should’ and that’s really stuck with me. I think with the craziness in the world right now it’s important to be kind – don’t forget to be kind to yourself too.
    Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Sometimes words don’t flow and/or life get in the way. You’re churning out great material. When you read back on what you’ve written, don’t be discouraged. Stay motivated because you’re a gifted writer.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I wish I could give you some of my motivation, but often I find myself in the same boat. You’ve mentioned that you watch some TV shows. Have you tried writing fanfiction (my phone keeps correcting it to fabrication, lol)? You don’t even need to tell anyone that you write it (I don’t, lol) but it’s kept me writing consistently over the years. You get to make your favourite characters do what you want. 😀

    Another suggestion is a personal writing blog, completely separate from your personal blog. I did that also and I find it helpful for when I want to write without thinking about it. If I feel anxious, I’ll write a quick poem and post it, etc.

    That’s actually where I did my A-Z challenge, and while I haven’t finished it, it’s a miracle that I wrote so much of an original story off the fly. It’s given me hope that I can sit down and work on my novel.

    In all, though, don’t put too much pressure on yourself.

    The best advice I’ve seen is to simply write – whether it’s two words, five words and hey, it might be garbage. It’s moreso the habit you need to build up before the quality gets to where you need it to be.

    Either way, it would be nice to hear more from you, no matter what it is! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey. Sorry I haven’t replied. Honestly, I read your comment days ago but I hate typing on my phone and I’ve been so averse to writing lately that I haven’t pulled my laptop out for, like, at least four or five days.

      I’ve never written fanfiction. I don’t know if I would be able to do it or not… never tried. It might be nice, though, to make known characters bend to my will. But likely, I would just insert myself into the show so I could have the guy. Yeah, I have a problem. I know.

      I keep telling myself to write just to write… just for me… not worrying about who is going to read it or what anyone is going to think of it. That would take the pressure off, and I’d still be writing. But… somehow, that’s not working for me either. I’ve just lost it all.

      I think what’s even worse is that not only have I lost all will to write, but I’ve lost all will to do anything. I had serious doubts about the a to z challenge, and I think it’s a miracle I was able to do it. I really hoped it would jump start me/my writing. But I’m right back where I was before April. Occupying myself with stupid shit instead of doing anything constructive with no motivation to change things.

      I miss having friends here. But I’m just not good company to anyone. Sometimes, writing or not, I feel like it’s best for everyone if I stay away.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hi! No worries at all. It’s always nice to hear from you!

        Girl, write self-insert fiction if that’s what will get you writing, We’ve all done it. I used to write stories about being happily in love with Sam Winchester. I think the ones that never think about it are the ones with the problem, lol. 😛

        Awww. I think you’re stressing over it and that makes it worse. I completely get that.

        I think completing the A-Z Challenge is a positive and a sign that you can go back to writing. Even if it’s one word a day. Even if it’s about not being able to write. Even if it’s about how you feel (and you feel the same way you did yesterday).

        I’m confident that you have it in you – and I hope that someday soon, you’ll be able to write something you’re proud of! ❤

        I get the need to stay away, but I almost always feel better when I talk to people. Even if it's just periodically, do check in with us! From what I see, everyone enjoys having you around!

        Liked by 1 person

        • You know, some of my first stories were about me and a particularly celebrity. Names changed, of course. And in my stories, he wasn’t even that person. He was just based on him… some version of him that I dreamt up. I’ve always known writing was my way of living in my fantasy world. Somewhere along the way, though, it seems like that became harder to do, in part because I get sad that nothing close to my fantasy will ever come to be for me. I used to have a flicker of hope that I could have some tiny part of the fantasy, but I don’t have that anymore. I think losing hope also meant me losing my will to write. Maybe this is a topic for a post.

          As far as being around here, I feel like I say the same crap all the time, in different ways. How can people want to read more of my crap? More of me lamenting my sad life? I’m sick of it… but I don’t have anything else in me.


  12. Seida Yenge says:

    Dear Sandra I would like to get hold of you on Facebook aswell as I strongly believe that we can teach each a thing or two about poetry.On Facebook I am Sandile Yenge….please add me.


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