For decades I’ve been what I call myself, a “fledgling writer”. This means that I write for my own piece of mind, mostly journaling to get the thoughts out of my head and onto paper. I’ve never published anything, except that one time when I wrote to the editor about an article that I felt passionate about. I also had a short stint of writing down my experiences on Livejournal quite a few years ago when I was going through a painful divorce. That was a wonderful outlet for me and I just happened to gather a very small following of women who could relate to what I was going through. I’ve started and not finished articles, blogs, short stories, and even a whole book. All of these starts and stops that I’ve created for myself have only frustrated me and made me believe that I’m not really a writer, just a dabbler. So here I am again.
Writing has always been a passion of mine. I’m not formally schooled, I don’t know the proper way to structure a story or how to create a blog that can generate an audience. I don’t even know what I don’t know. I just write. I do it for myself and when I try to do it for others or for profit, I become discontent. When I read other people’s work, I see how a story unfolds to tug at my emotions, giving me knowledge or at least contemplation, and when I come away as a greater person than I was before, I say to myself, “I wish I could write like that!”
Then I don’t write at all, because I know that I can’t even form a sentence with proper grammar or punctuation, and I would have to highly edit my thoughts after I put them down on paper if I were to show anyone what I wrote. I haven’t even found “my voice”.
Then there’s the criticism of others that I don’t want to hear. I am an imposter and what business do I have writing? It’s so dark or offensive or it gives people a bad feeling. It’s not even good writing. It sucks. Not that I’ve ever put myself out there in public enough to actually BE criticized, but just the thought of it makes me freeze. I think this stems from when I was younger and more naive, writing down everything in my head, laid out for others to read, only for them to become furious and squash me by forbidding me to write. But my desire was too strong inside me. Instead, I wrote only in the early morning hours when everyone else was sleeping, then locked my journals away into a hiding place, always sick that someone would find them and I’d be punished. This went on for years and I developed a strong protection from having my thoughts known to others.
Then there were times when I’d get lost with my writing. Time slipped away while I swirled around in my thoughts, creating them into words on paper. It’s a delightful feeling. As a working mom, I never could afford the luxury of this when I was raising my children. There was too much to do and I am a practical person, so any formal writing was pushed away for the more essential things in life. Now that I have time to indulge, I feel like it’s too late to start. I’m older, I’m jaded and critical and set in my ways. My mindset is difficult to change. But still, I write.
Secretly, I fancy myself a great writer, one who’s clever with words, creating stories that incite deep contemplation in those who read my stories. This is what keeps me writing, in the hopes that one day, I’ll become brilliant.
I’m very dramatic about my own writing, like it’s life or death. It’s not really that big of a deal, people do it all the time. I already know that I need to put myself out there and just write. Fuck everything else. If I do it because I love it, that should be enough. Right? Seriously, what’s wrong with me? Maybe someday I won’t make such a big deal out of it.
Nobody knows these intricacies about me. They only see my frustration, but not what lies underneath it. Not my friends, my family or even my own partner. Not unless someone reads this, will they know this about me.
Recently, my fiancé introduced me to Medium. “Look at this,” he said. “You should blog on here.” He sees that I’m happy and also frustrated and verbally works through with me on how to be happy with this writing bug I have, trying to help me find solutions. It’s one of the many reasons that I know he truly loves me and why I’m marrying him. But, I digress.
So, here I am on Medium. This wonderful crazy thing that I’ve looked at for the last week or so, and I like it. I can do this. Maybe here, I’ll find my voice. Maybe here I can make my grammar/punctuation mistakes, heavy on the commas, laying out my heart in fragmented sentences and not give a damn about what others think. Because for some reason, journaling in my binder just isn’t doing it for me. This is a leap, and so off the cliff I jump into the unknown.
It’s taken me a lifetime of starts and stops, so if I stop again, please be patient with me. I’m learning how to swim with the sharks in my own mind.