Write your heart out

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.

(Just me?)

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.

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Comments

Write your heart out — 27 Comments

  1. I so hear ya! I have no desire to write a book, just keeping up with this little old blog of mine keeps me on my toes so I applaud your ambition. When I first started writing I was wracked with insecurities and constantly thinking, who in the hell would want to read what I have to say.

    Does anyone who writes, in any fashion, ever say – hey, I’m going to write and everyone will love every word I write and beg for more – I don’t think so. I think it’s our creative insecurities that fuel our brilliance! 😉
    Patti recently posted..See the U.S.A. – 6: 3,000 Miles & Counting ~My Profile

  2. OMG Sarah I feel like you were writing that for ME!!! I feel like lately I’ve constantly been questioning writing, partly because with the holiday season I”m feeling pressured to write SOMETHING but not taking the time to do a great job, and because I also just accepted a side job for my employer frelancing doing a lot of our writing here and I”m terrified! Granted, I’ve been writing things off and on for work for years, hence the reason they offered me the position, but now I am FREAKING OUT thinking they’ll see I’m a fake, hate my writing, decide they don’t want me to do it. This post came at the perfect time and now, deep breath taken, I will begin to write! Thank you and hope you & Tyrhone have a very merry Christmas. XO
    Rhonda recently posted..Foto FridayMy Profile

    • I WAS writing it for you Rhonda!!!! I don’t know why we think that being a writer involves being the BEST WRITER EVER, and why we let the fact that we are not the best writer ever stand in the way of being the writer we are. But we do! I do all the time! And to be honest, I’m kinda tired of it and have decided to just get out of my own way and do my thing. So glad you got something out of it xxx Merry Christmas xxx

  3. First, I must say that I just recently came across your blog and I love your writing!

    Secondly, thank you for posting this! We are fairly new to the travel blogging world and often find ourselves comparing our writing skills to the numerous quality bloggers out there and it is very intimidating. These are great words of encouragement!
    Brittany recently posted..8 Things to do Khon Kaen, ThailandMy Profile

    • Thank you Brittany, I’m very familiar with the old ‘compare and dispair,’ and I still do it. Only now, I realise it is pointless because only I can say what I have to say, and it is still worthy of being written even if it isn’t Shakespere. I wish you all the best, just go for it!!

  4. Hey Sarah,
    I’m so glad you’re still writing… sometimes it’s hard when you wonder if it matters what you write, but I think the thing I always come back to is, “Would you still do this even if no one in the world paid attention or cared?” And as long as I answer “Yes” to writing, then I’ll keep doing it. I think you’re in that camp, too, so keep doing it :-)
    Tasha
    Turf to Surf recently posted..Sailing the Southern OceanMy Profile

  5. I love love LOVE that Cheryl Strayed article (I think it was a “Dear Sugar” column actually…) and have sent it to pretty much everyone I know who writes. My routine of writing, even if it’s personal writing, has become so much a part of me now that I feel off if I don’t do it. And creating the art is more important than others’ appreciation of the art. Although it’s nice when other people get it too.
    Carmel recently posted..WAT TOOK YOU SO LONGMy Profile

  6. LOVE. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I feel this way all the time and am constantly trying to fight through all of the “I suck, this sucks, and everyone will hate me because it all sucks.” WRITE LIKE A MOTHERFUCKER. Can you make that into a screen saver please?
    Kim recently posted..We’re in hot and honking VietnamMy Profile

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  8. I would so buy the mug except I have no room in my backpack and no permanent address for shipping, either. I’ll just have to keep that piece of advice in mind at all times. The only way to be a writer is to write. Sounds simple, right?

    For further valuable advice on writing by famous writers, I recommend the compendium at Brain Pickings: brainpickings [dot] org/index.php/2013/05/03/advice-on-writing/
    Peter Korchnak @ Where Is Your Toothbrush? recently posted..Christmas in ThailandMy Profile

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