I’m lucky. I knew who I wanted to be when I was young and never strayed from the path. I was born to write and dreamed of publication. This dream kept me on the straight and narrow, even during tough times when I felt like I had lost my way. But when I was young, I felt like this group was small. Sure, I belonged to Romance Writers of America and met great friends at my local chapter. But in the last decade, the writing world has boomed to a new level, and it completely inspires and humbles me.
I used to meet people who consistently told me they dreamed of writing one day but didn’t consider themselves talented enough. Or feared rejection. Just the idea of putting something in the mail they had lovingly crafted, to be told that it sucked, would have driven them to the mental ward. I must admit, I was a bit thrilled I’d have less competition in the publication world. Only the hardy survive to tell about it. But another deeper part of me felt sad. Writing was such a wonderful way of making sense of life and finding your way. People felt like they couldn’t write unless there was a certain goal.
And then blogs were born.
Suddenly, a new crop of writers emerged on the horizon. Not just romance writers talking about writing, but mommies talking about parenting, experts sharing knowledge about their craft, and artists explaining their process. The world cracked open and became shiny new. People began to love writing because they were able to take the pressure off and write about what they loved.
There will always be competition and of course, blog envy. Now there are top rated blogs, and freshly pressed competitions, and the desire to have the most amount of followers, twitterers, facebook buddies, and commenter’s. We are back on the verge of exhausting ourselves for the general public. Sometimes, this is good. Sometimes, not.
Blogging emerged because people wanted to share something personal. People have begun to write naked. They want to share stories, connect with an audience, and make sense of day to day life. They talk triumphs and ask for support over pitfalls. Writing reminds us we are all human and in this together.
It’s well known in the romance world there are basic plots done repetitively. Marriage of convenience. Secret babies. Plucky heroines challenging dark, seething alpha males. Too often, critics make fun of the genre and don’t realize how one plot can offset a thousand different creative stories. We all do something different, because we each have unique perspectives and personalities. Humor, sarcasm, grief, pain, stoicism.
That’s what real writing is about. Getting naked. Putting our perspective out there to the general public because it helps us make sense of who we are and where we are in this journey of life.
I celebrate the blogging community and the rapid growth. I feel as if I have experienced many gifts by getting to know so many writers who do not term themselves authors.
Writing should be enjoyed and celebrated. If we find ourselves at the computer, joyless, overworked, and unhappy, it’s time to step back and re-evaluate. Maybe we need to write something else. Maybe we need to refill the well. Maybe we need to write what we want at that moment, and it shouldn’t be for the public eye.
When I had my first baby, I began writing a book for him. This book was not structured or meant for anyone else until my son came of age. I wanted him to hold my thoughts and know how much he was loved, the struggles I went through, the doubts I had, and the person I was and became through motherhood. It’s a mess, but it’s my mess, and he will have a part of me I hope will help him when I’m old and gray.
During a difficult time in my life when I felt lost, I began doing morning pages. I scribbled three full pages of anything that came to mind when I got up in the morning. Put the pen to the pad and don’t’ stop, even if you write the same sentence over and over. This is in the fabulous book by Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way. I didn’t know how it would help, but I stuck with the process.
Months later, things began to change. Through my writing, I discovered parts of myself I had hidden. Things I wanted to do and believed, but became afraid of. I actually glimpsed a part of me I wanted to re-discover. I made some changes, took some chances, and went on faith. I have never looked back and it is still a tool for me when I feel like I need clarity or guidance.
Writing whispers in our ear: I was here. This is what I felt and thought. I am important.
Whether you are writing a blog, or a book, or a short story, take a pause today. Write for pure joy or do some morning pages to cleanse.
Write naked. You won’t regret it.
*** The free jewelry giveaway contest ends on Friday. Remember to leave a comment either here or at http://4badmommies.com for entries. I will announce the lucky winner next week!