On running and writing essays

Sergey Faldin 🇺🇦
6 min readNov 15, 2022

Lately, I’ve had trouble writing.

I wouldn’t call it writer’s block. It’s more of an I-Don’t-Want-To-Say-Anything-To-Anyone kind of thing. I simply lacked the motivation to spread ideas and stories beyond my cerebral cortex.

I thought about writing fiction, but in the current situation where my country harasses my wife’s country — which I can’t help but be a part of because of my embarrassing passport — writing lies (which is what all fiction is) feels like a cop-out, escapism, a cheap attempt at hiding from reality behind a thin blanket.

Neither can I find enough reasons to read fiction — lies someone else concocted — when the immediate world is rich with events, problems, and things to analyse and understand.

I know this might change, as opinions and attitudes do depending on life situations, but for now, that’s how it is.

So this year, in 2022, besides the novella about the first days of the war in Ukraine and a handful of short stories at a UCLA course I took, I mainly wrote journalism.

But journalism, no matter how lucrative and fun it might seem from the outside, has a way of boring and exhausting your nerves after a certain point. Having published more than seven articles this year in big household names like The Guardian and Al Jazeera and even Russia’s very own Meduza — about the war on Ukraine — I feel depleted. Done. I feel like I want nothing to do with writing about the war ever again. Writing about topics where you have skin in the game might be purposeful, but it’s also very taxing.

This leaves me in a weird position as a writer.

If not fiction and not fact — then what should I write?

As many writers know, it’s not the ideas that inspire us to write — it’s the mysterious urge to write something, anything, whatever, as long as it involves the act of scribbling, typing, and putting words on paper and into sentences.

This might be a medical condition of its own (who knows!), but until it’s proven by a 20-year-old Harvard graduate who does a TED talk on it, I’ll be happy enough to call it what it is: an itch to write and be read.

Call it an obsession or ego — it doesn’t make it any less real.

If both fiction and fact are out of the question, then what I am left with — and that’s all I’ve got is some blend of the two, which we might call Introspection…

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Sergey Faldin 🇺🇦

Honest thoughts. Unpopular opinions. Not necessarily true or smart. | The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Meduza | muckrack.com/sfaldin | Subscribe: sergeys.substack.com