Start by writing for yourself

I’ve always wanted to be a writer. And telling you that seems like as good a place as any to start.

I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I was a kid who could read. To me, there’s always been something about the magic of a story; these random words thrown together that have the power to transport you, educate you, uplift you, and shatter your heart — often all at once.

Writing was something that always came easy to me. “English Language” classes at school were something my peers hated, while I secretly yearned to find out what our essay topic would be for that week. The freedom to interpret a given topic and let the words take you wherever it takes you; there was nothing more comforting to me than that.

Back then, I was so confident in my writing that I would submit it places. Public places. Where other human beings could read it and comment on it. As an adult aspiring writer, the thought of it gives me shivers. But child aspiring writer me was all up for it.

Because why not?

Sure, there’s the fact that the writing was awful. I see that now. But back then I didn’t seem to care. I wrote because it thrilled me. Being vulnerable through my writing felt like one of the most powerful tools at my disposal. I didn’t care who was reading it, or not reading it, or what judgement they might have to pass on my vulnerability.

And today? Today I’m a terrified mess.

Today, calling myself an aspiring writer would be laughable. I haven’t publicly written anything in years. As for writing privately, I would be lying if I said I had written anything of that nature either. My adult self-consciousness has taken over in full form and I find that I can’t even keep a journal anymore without thinking about who might find it, read it, and judge me (or worse, judge my writing).

My dream to become a writer is such a huge part of who I am; but it’s exactly this that is preventing me from writing.

The fear that comes from putting my work out there — my dream out there — only to have people tell me that it’s horrible; is there anything that’s more terrifying than that?

I’m now in my late 20s and I know I need to learn to be vulnerable again before I can start to write. The thought of being vulnerable around people I know and love fills me with dread, so this is my solution:

I’m going to write completely anonymously.

Now, I realise that writers posting their work anonymously isn’t the most groundbreaking idea. But it feels new to me. I never thought I would write — and publish — anonymously. I always figured I would first perfect my writing, and then start publishing after that.

But I need to overcome my fear of being vulnerable. I need to give myself the space to be vulnerable and emotional and exposed. I need to write for myself and be comfortable with my own words.

And I’m publishing these words publicly because I also need to learn to be comfortable with the knowledge that there might be someone — anyone — on the other side of the screen, reading what I’m writing. It could happen. They won’t know who I am, but they will have access to my emancipated words.

And most importantly, I need to know that someone might read it, judge me for my vulnerability, and tell me so. I need to learn that the judgement might hurt me for a few minutes, but that it’s okay. I need to prove to myself that I can continue writing — writing honestly — in the face of any criticism that I may get.

Because it’s only when I write honestly that I find I have something worth writing about.

So, here goes. If there’s someone out there who is reading this: welcome to my new state of (anonymised) vulnerability. Thank you for reading my words. I hope they don’t put you off all words forever.

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