We’ve all heard the sayings; “Dance like no one is watching” and “Sing like no one is listening” but does the same hold true for writing? Should we be able to write like no one is reading?
I’ve been blogging now for over five years and I’ve shared a lot of very intimate details about my life while doing so but I’ve also found myself needing to hold back a lot as well. On several occasions I’ve felt the need to censor my words as to not offend someone or at other times I’ve thought to myself, there is no way in hell I can publish this for fear of being criticized.
I’ve wanted to write a book for many years now; long before I even considered publishing my children’s story. People ask me all the time if I will ever write a memoir or maybe publish a collaboration from the 100’s of blogs I’ve written thus far but I’ve been very hesitant to do so because well, if truth be told, I still don’t have that perfect ending to my story yet that everyone wants or expects to read nor am I quite sure I am ready to publish the parts of me that beg the question “is it okay to write like no one is reading?”
The truth is though, I did start writing a memoir several years ago, starting from my earliest childhood memories. I was sitting by myself one afternoon in a booth at a nearby Tim Hortons; pen in hand, a blank notebook laid out on the table and a laptop charging next to me. Prior to the Pandemic, I would spend quite a bit of time escaping to that same Tim Hortons restaurant, often sitting in that same booth; observing the faces and body language of strangers who sat near by; so many of them alone like me. I often imagined what stories they were needing to tell but mostly I went there hoping to find a quiet space to gain some inspiration and find the courage to start writing my own story, the whole story.
But then one day I just stopped writing it because many things from my past became too painful and too personal to share but Brene Brown has reminded me that, “Courage is to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart.”
I’m feeling very stuck right now, with little motivation and I am extremely vulnerable, possibly more than I’ve ever felt before. Most days lately I barely have enough strength just to get out of bed due to my physical and mental health and several other more personal struggles which are causing me to spiral right down to my complicated past. With my growing list of current day struggles I am living through, it has brought up memories of my past which are haunting me greatly as well as complicating some already very complicated relationships in my life which are making me feel as though I really don’t belong here at all anymore but I also know that much of my pain is from not sharing the things that keep me feeling stuck. Somedays I feel like I’m an imposter yet my goal has always been the same since I began sharing my story which is to help others by sharing my own pain and the triumphs too. I know it’s scary but I also know that it’s made an impact and helped save lives which is why as every new obstacle unfolds in my day to day life I feel an even stronger urge to pick up that pen again and finish where I’d left off several years ago.
To quote another very empowering best selling author, Mandy Hale, “Growth is painful. Change is painful. But nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.”
I probably have enough material by now to talk for years about mental health and the parts of my story I’ve been too scared to share and as terrifying as all this sounds, I also feel like now may be the perfect time to dust off my notebook, take that pen in hand again and charge my laptop in order to open the pages I’ve kept closed for so long. I just wanna write so I can be true to myself and help reach the audience it’s meant to so that no one ever feels alone in this great big messy beautiful world.
So to answer my question above; Should we be able to write like no one is reading? I think it’s pretty clear, Hell ya!
And to all those reading this with pen in hand and blank pages of a notebook to fill, just remember…your story matters too.
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