writing for yourself

Keep Some of Your Writing to Yourself

I have a confession. I’ve been writing things and not sharing them with you. I’m keeping some of my writing to myself for a change. It feels like a secret, one that means little to anyone else but means everything to me.

I used to keep writing all to myself. I kept a journal from a very young age and I always hid my journal beneath my mattress—as if to protect my words from the prying eyes of the public.

In school, I felt the teacher betrayed us when she gave a writing prompt, encouraged us to spill our secrets onto the page in solitude, then turned on all of us by turning quiet writing time into show and tell. If any student refused to share their writing with the class, then the teacher would do it.

I never shared my writing. I cringed over the years as teachers read my work to the class. Thankfully, most of my teachers kept my work anonymous as they read it aloud—but anyone who bothered to observe me would see the sweat and the blushing, every ounce of fear and anxiety releasing through my skin before I imploded.

Eight years after launching this blog, four novels later, and thousands of pieces of content released into the business wild, I still sweat and blush anytime I share my work. That anxiety never left, that selfish urge to hide my words beneath my mattress.

But, I kept giving my words away, away, away. Away to everyone and forgetting to keep some of them to myself. Until recently when I started taking up my childhood nighttime ritual of journaling in bed. Journaling about nothing in particular, for nobody else, for no objective or reaction.

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if i waited for perfection

If You Wait for Perfection

“If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word.” Margaret Atwood brilliantly captures the liabilities of perfectionism in 11 words. I certainly don’t think this lesson only applies to writers. If we waited for perfection, we would never do many things.

We would never cook dinner for our loved ones, because the flavors were slightly off-balance or the meat was a little dry. We would stay in a “secure” salaried position until we reached retirement, because the passion business venture we want to launch is uncertain and risky—and probably, a stupid idea.

If we waited for perfection, we would second-guess our ability to say the right words when someone close to us was having a hard time—because who are we to understand whatever it is that person is going through? We would never make love, tell stories, or see the world.

During the pursuit of perfection, we sabotage our own potential and the impact we have on those around us. Perfectionism is really just fear in disguise. And, the fear of “what might happen” paralyzes us.

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writer's responsibility

The Great Responsibility of Being a Writer

I’m not a politician. I’m not a doctor. I’m not a teacher. I’m not important. I’m not famous. I’m not cool. I’m just a writer.

Writing never used to be about responsibility. Writing was always my quiet rebellion.

Precious secrets spilled onto the chocolate-stained, tear-smudged pages of my tattered journal. I unleashed my thoughts, yet they were still protected from the rest of the world. They were safe from ridicule and reason, a stream of consciousness nobody needed to interpret.

About nine years ago I finally realized the impact of words. I attempted to become an Arts & Entertainment journalist for an alternative publication in a small city. I had no experience. I nearly begged to write for them, and for whatever reason, they let me.

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