Yesterday a good friend asked when my next blog post was going up? I replied, “Not sure whenever I feel like I have something to say.” Her response to that comment was simple. “You should write everyday … You don’t have to be inspired.” I smiled as I read her text. Her words reopened a conversation that I haven’t thought of in awhile.
I have always had a love for writing. When I was younger I dreamed of being a published writer with my words printed on the vanilla pages of a hardcover. I envisioned my words would have an impact. My dream was so vividly clear I knew the dedication of the book would read, thanks to all those who praise imperfection. So in pursuit of this dream I wrote, spending many hours over the summers giving my imagination a voice. By the end of the summer I would be unfinished, but proud of my progress. My story would stay untouched throughout the rest of the year. Nevertheless, my mind was continuously working, writing and rewriting scenes like the manipulation of history. My story was alive to me. So when school was out and summer was here again, I was always excited and ready to continue my vision. I would start with rereading what I had written. I would cringe, feeling a mix of anger and disappointment. My memory of these words and the reality of what was written seemed different. I never even finished rereading everything. It wasn’t good enough I always thought, so I committed to restarting, opening a new blank page. I would stare at the emptiness of the page and think this is the draft. This time I will be ready to share it. I would rationale my thoughts – its been a year – I’ve grown, my writing style has developed, I learned new words. This cyclical pattern continued for years. It never changed and I was okay with that, believing this was the process in creating something great.
It was in freshman year at Elon that I realized my thinking was flawed and I was holding myself back. We read an article titled “The shitty first draft.” I don’t remember the details of the article, but the author helped me own my fears of sharing my writing and to appreciate the messiness of writing. My decision to restart writing each year uncut the writing process and limited me from unearthing my story’s essence. I was self-sabotaging myself because the idea of my story was so ingrained and so much a part of me that the idea was by far better than anything in reality.
Similarly, my response to my friend “Whenever I have something to say” was another sign of self-sabotage. We all have a continuous flow of ideas. What I was really expressing was whenever I have something I feel other people will think is worthwhile to hear. I was forgetting the beauty of the shitty first draft.
So … I am writing just because and not afraid to. “You can write about crayons if you want to.”