I had no idea there were sites out there, like Medium, where writers of all status could self-publish their work. Sounds like heaven to a novice like myself.
Since learning of these inspiration jump-starters, I’ve started writing again. Though I used to be quite the avid pen scribbler, it’s something I haven’t practiced in a very long time, at least fifteen years.
Writing was something I would do when I was full of heartache or despair; when I needed to release every thought from my mind, and every tear from my eyes.
The difference is, as I grow older I’ve found I don’t get as upset over things, nor do I fall in love, so it gives me less of an urge to spill my guts. Guess I just haven’t had the right mindset or ambition in years past.
Now it has been rediscovered, and I remember why I love simply just the writing part alone, minus all of the heartbreak nonsense. It’s all I want to do. I wake up thinking about writing. I go to sleep thinking about writing. I’m procrastinating on other things because I’d rather be writing. I can’t seem to shut off my “writing” brain.
It’s an awesome feeling, but also a little bit familiar. Being no stranger to addiction, I could even go as far to say it’s almost like a drug. Except for this time it’s a good vice to have, and one that I don’t ever want to kick.
Unfortunately, there’s a downside to jumping back into writing; the fear.
Anxiety is a dominant issue in many of our day to day lives already, without folding something new and uncharted into the mix. Even though I used to write a lot, I’d never done so with the clear purpose of having a stranger read what I wrote. I used to write for what I’d call a “phantom audience”; I would write the words as if they were intended for someone to read, except there wasn’t anyone. Sort of like a love letter that you can never bring yourself to actually send. Though now I think I’d feel more comfortable having strangers read my writing rather than someone I know reading it, which is why I’m here. It’s also part of the reason I’m not using my full name as my screen name. The fear is real — but what am I so afraid of?
Choosing to hit “publish” for the first time might be the most nerve-wracking part of being a new(ish) writer. There’s also the worry of how to go about doing it the right way; do I self publish? do I submit to a publication? how would I even go about doing that? So, just weaving through the ins and outs of the website is complicated enough, without adding in the ever so often main fear of “is my writing good enough?”. There’s a huge f***ing sea of experienced, wordy, grandiose writers out there, why would they need a guppy swimming around? Well, everyone has been a guppy. I need to remember that. It’s something I always forget, and I think everyone else does, too.
So, I’ve been jotting down ideas, titles, and notes non-stop on Post-Its and random scraps of paper throughout the house every time something pops into my mind. Every day for the past few weeks, I’ll sit down in my big ass puffy recliner chair, plop the tablet on to my lap and just start typing away. I’ve written seven finished articles. I’ve started several more. I’ve only published one, yesterday. Finally. Hallelujah.
The problem is, I’m pretty sure I spend more time going back and forth changing or fixing things in my stories (that probably don’t really need fixing) than I spend actually writing. Once I’m absolutely sure the story I’ve been pouring my heart into is finished, I give it yet another final once-over and find something else I’m not one hundred percent happy with.
I’ve realized something, though. Sometimes you have to just say screw it and hit “publish”. Otherwise, we’re going to continue to be here all day, every day, just going ‘round in circles but never actually progressing. I finally did it yesterday when I self-published my first article. It wasn’t my favorite one I’ve written so far, but it was finished. (Well, at least I think it is, after having edited it a few times even after I clicked the publish button.) Now, at least I’ve accomplished that first release into the wild and unknown, and what a feeling it is! The next one I feel won’t be as scary to put out there.
Being a perfectionist can be a gift. It can make you produce some spectacular things. Whether it’s writing, art, or even a project around the house. But, being a perfectionist can also be crippling. Nothing is ever going to be perfect in my mind, so I’m gonna have to settle for “it’s good enough for me”, and that’s okay too.