God forbid I actually call myself a writer. That would be delusional, right? And people might know that I really want to be a writer, that I have that ambition and that I think I’m actively pursuing it. How dare I. No, I’ll just be a person: a business development lead, a girlfriend, a clean freak, a former gymnast, a mediocre cook, a daughter who writes things.
Releasing your thoughts into the wild is all fine and dandy when you’re doing it verbally. People can talk over you or ignore you or forget you, or (even better!) if you don’t articulate yourself the way you wanted to, you can assess your audience’s body language or reaction or listen to their arguments and explain yourself. Defend your ideas. Apologise for any offence caused. Or you could laugh and pretend it didn’t happen, and then *poof* maybe it didn’t happen! Who can prove anything at all, really?!
But you can’t do that when you’re writing. Your writing is set in stone, in ink, on the Internet. It’s published, it’s promoted, and you can’t change it. It’s there. In front of people’s eyeballs. It might be a very proud moment, or you might be unsure, but it’s too late now because it’s alive. It’s now subject to every single reader’s individual interpretation, neuroses, disdain, judgement. Lots of people will miss the point, which quite possibly means that you didn’t write it well enough. An editor looking for clickbait will use a particular picture that makes your story look rather sinister. People will comment, and argue, and give you the silent treatment. Someone might even write a response story! And it’s horrible, it’s harsh. You feel like it’s all so unfair because amongst the people responding to what you’ve written, a couple of them are responding negatively. So, fifteen people liked your post on Facebook? Maybe three people commented? What about the hundreds that didn’t like it! They must think I’m wrong, or I’m stupid, or that I’m an egomaniac. All because I wrote something.
And perhaps that’s the point. You’ve made people think. You’ve said something that maybe someone else hasn’t said. It might not be right, but it’s not the same. And that’s why you’re doing it, to expose someone to something that’s not the same.
The thing is, that if you’re a person that writes things, you probably really like words. You might say them a lot, or you might just love to write them a lot. Perhaps you take note of new words that you like in your iPhone, perhaps you jot down ideas for stories on napkins at restaurants, perhaps you tear through words that other people who write things write. You enjoy, neigh, adore ideas, especially new ones or ones that you haven’t heard before. You delight in internally debating a new concept. You think about things all the time, playing with them, turning them into a story. Into a fully-fledged story. For yourself, for posterity, for whatever reason. Because that’s what you love to do.
This exercise is completely removed from the possible outcome of writing, that is, people actually reading it. In your mind, you will always be someone who writes things that are probably not worth reading, so why would you worry about what anyone thinks about your little stories? But sometimes people do read them, and they do care, and they don’t realise that you are just a person, a completely unimportant person, who thinks about things all the time, playing with them. A person that doesn’t even know why they are doing this, a person that is afraid, a person that really probably is nice and lonely and vulnerable and strong and hopeless underneath it all.
Can I tell you not to be offended? Is that allowed? This is our blog, so I guess we can do whatever we want. Don’t be offended. Nothing I say is a personal attack on you or your way of life. I’m just having thoughts and conversations in my head, and then writing it all down on a page. I’m just being a person that writes things.