You’re out there, I know you are. You feel something inside, an uncomfortable urging you’ve suppressed for some time. You want to write, to express yourself, to connect with people and share your stories but you’re scared, unqualified and coming up with every excuse why now is not the right time.
I know, because I’m you.
Yes, I write, now.
But for many years my inner urge to connect via the written word lay dormant inside me, withered from being neglected and suppressed.
And even though I do write, I still experience all the same fears and self-induced blocks as when I began. It is slightly easier now, but whenever I feel the winds of change adjust my course toward writing something meaningful which will expose my vulnerabilities, I am tempted to drop the sails and drift into easier waters.
This may be the reason my ramblings switch between humour, heartfelt sincerity and outright sarcasm like a schizophrenic on adderall.
The difference between me now (writing), and me then (not writing) is that now, I’m going with it. I’m doing what feels right at the time and I’m learning from my mistakes. I’m getting words down and getting them out and I may not be where I’d like to be, emotionally or professionally, but I actually have a slither of self belief that I will get there eventually.
No one is more surprised by this than me.
The adage of ‘take the first step and the staircase will appear’ is working in my life on so many levels.
I receive a few emails here and there from people who would like to start a blog, or have a blog, “But it’s really small and nothing, and I hardly update it and it’s just a hobby and probably won’t go anywhere, but what do you think?” and before you think I’m making fun of you (I am) I feel qualified to do so only because I have been exactly where you are and I completely get it.
Only now I say, “I’m writing a book, well not right this minute, it’s more agonizing procrastination and neurosis than anything else, and I don’t know if it will even get done, I’ll see how it goes… (trail off),” annoying the hell out of myself with my mastery of self-sabotage and distraction.
It’s fear of failure – yawn, we all know it.
We don’t want to ‘big ourselves up’ in case we are actually crap and no one wants to read our work, or worse yet we get distracted by watching the Keeping Up with the Kardashians Christmas Special and The Soup and don’t actually see our heart’s desire through to completion.
So we downsize ourselves and our abilities and think things like, ‘Well maybe I don’t need to write a book and The Soup is a very funny show which may sustain my happiness so long as Joel McHale is the host. There are worse ways to spend a life, aren’t there?’
But very soon, the desire to create that thing you know you have inside you (you know, you do) re-emerges, and it’s like an annoying child you are desperately trying to ignore and brush off while it says, “but why? but why? but whyyyy?!” over and over until you cannot take it anymore and simply must give it the attention it so annoyingly demands.
You must write it out of you.
You must, to coin a phrase from the writer Cheryl Strayed, “Write like a motherfucker.” (Yes, this is awesome and yes, there are mugs. If you buy me one, I’ll be your best friend for life).
I wanted to name the post that, but feared I’d scare some people off. It’s really the same thing as writing your heart out anyway, so long as your heart is a fierce, pounding, motherfucker of a heart.
Writing your heart out does not mean success or popularity or adulation. I’m not watching a Christmas Special starring a person who writes about the raw truth of the human condition, I’m watching one about a girl who wanted to wear full make-up when she gave birth so that her baby would think she was pretty.
Gotta love Kim K…
‘The world’ may not reward you for your efforts the way you think they should. The rewards are there, they are, they just might look different to how you imagined.
If you write your heart out, you will make mistakes and come off sounding weird, you will question yourself every step of the way and tell yourself all the reasons why you are going to be the laughing stock of the Goodreads forums (damn, those people be mean), but just know this: when you are on your deathbed (if you are lucky enough to die in a bed) you probably won’t care about the bad reviews or even the good ones, yet you may take some semblance of peace from the fact that you gave all of your bloody, broken and well-worn heart as a gift to this world.
I am of course, taking this advice myself, so rest assured that if you are going to write out that motherfucking heart of yours, I’m going to write the hell out of mine out too.
“The trouble is, you think you have time.” – Buddha.