After years of standing in front of classrooms, pubescent children trying desperately not to learn, I still find the blank page the most intimidating creature of all.
Spit-balls, fart jokes and inaccurate genitalia drawings have nothing on the nerve-wracking awkwardness of following a dream. But here I am… Post One. Or as I lovingly refer to it “The time it took 30 minutes to write a sentence.”
I have been writing for as long as I can remember… which to be fair isn’t that impressive of a statement seeing as I have the mind of a pasta strainer. Things that you think are too important to fall through the holes can, and often do, fall through into the gurgling sink of my forgetfulness. But, there are brief memories of writing from when I was younger. Stories of seals, vampires and, well, some fan fiction that never needs to see the light of day. I always enjoyed hearing, reading and creating stories. Even when I went through the too-much-eyeliner phase; writing still had an inescapable grip on me. So when I started this journey, and taking my writing seriously, I thought that I had all I needed:
However, I quickly found that writing is so much more than that. It is knowing what’s going on in the world. It is an opportunity for expression: a chance to say something about the world, highlight its flaws and qualities. It is a community: a network of friends who challenge and support you. It is asking the hard questions about what is important to you. It is revising your work until your eyes bleed, then handing it to others who show you all the things you missed. It is business: marketing, data analysis, trends *shudder*.
It is a lot of work.
That was one of the main things that surprised me about starting on this journey; that is, for something that claims to be an introvert activity, there is a lot of interaction with others.
But fear not. This interaction is the reason I haven’t fled in fear. The community of writers… there is nothing like it. Even in teaching, where collaboration and resource sharing is vital, there isn’t this unreserved desire to build up and share. So, dear reader, if you are thinking of writing: find yourself a community. Twitter, Tumbler, Facebook… there are a number of different avenues to find your community.
In all the classes I attended on creative writing, not one mentioned the benefits of the online community. Since joining I have been pushed to experiment, explain and just plain old write more words.
And don’t freak out if you’re worried about it starting… we all were – and still are.
The community has taught me:
The laughable part is that with the very same minds that we use to harm ourselves, we are building each other up.
So, push through it. You can do it. It might be harder or more complex than you imagined. But..
You. Can. Do. It.
Now, go write. Who knows… in a week we could be Twitter buddies …in a year I might be reading your published work.
Remember: Like wine we all get better with age. What you couldn’t write last year, you might be able to today.
On that note, I’m off to grab a glass of celebratory wine. First blog post written.