Not Thinking About It: Some Thoughts About Writing
You’re your worst enemy.
At least, that’s how I feel most of the time when I write.
It always feels like it’s not worth writing if it’s not a) meaningful, b) impactful, c) well-written, or d) all of the above. “Writer’s block” is always an easy excuse to not write, and it also sounds pretty cool to say to your friends you have writer’s block because it makes you seem like a pretty legit writer.
But then I read this article by Sasha Chapin(which I found through Matter, a great app to find writing pieces) which is quaintly titled “If You Have Writer’s Block, Maybe You Should Stop Lying.”
My favorite excerpt from the article is one of its first paragraphs:
Your mind is constantly moving. You’re always producing judgments, attitudes, opinions, emotions, melancholy, malaise, anger, and so on. You have things to write about. What you do is just put the things in your head on the page, in basically the order they naturally occur. Flip over the rock in your mind, type about the beetles.
I think everyone has a story. Everyone has gone through something — no one’s life is more or less interesting than another, just equally as interesting. Me, you, your mum, my mum, your best friend, the waiter serving you, everyone has something to say. Writing is just one way of trying to grapple with the thoughts inside your head.
But in reality, most of the time I’m not willing to write because I overthink and I’m afraid.
Overthinking about the quality of the writing. Afraid about how people will perceive my writing. Overthinking how I’ll be seen as an imposter, as a poser, as a wannabe. Afraid of being honest.
Writing, in its most ideal form, is something that should come easy. It would not feel like you’re forcing something to come out — but rather that something, some story, has found its way out of you.
(That’s a weird image to have, but I’ll stick with it.)
But for me, writing is very rarely in its most ideal form. And the reason for that is simple.
I’ve never been fully honest in my writing.
Maybe it’s the overthinking. Maybe it’s the fear. Maybe it’s the insecurity.
Something always stopped me from being honest.
I don’t think I’ll ever be fully honest in my writing — there’s still some fear about the permanence of the online archive.
But I think I’ll try to be more honest and open. In a time where a lot of people seem to think that there’s no value in being too honest and open, I’ll bare my soul to the world just a bit more.
Will it make my writing automatically amazing? No.
Will it bring any value to me, both tangibly or intangible? Arguably.
Will it make me vulnerable? Probably.
But will it maybe help someone else grapple with their own thoughts? I hope so.
I have very little control over whether my writing is impactful or meaningful. That’s up to the reader to decide.
What I can control is by trying to be a little more honest. Write a bit more and write more openly. Talk about everything that I’d like to talk about, my highs and lows, my pain and penance, my whims and worries. Have a bit more fun with my writing, and accepting the writing in any form it comes from, not in a form that I have molded and curated.
What I can control is to not think too much about it.
Don’t think too much about it.