A week ago I was stressing over this whole 31 days thing. It was my first post and nothing felt right about it. I was worried and anxious.
I read and reread parts to my husband. He helped me tweak and rephrase a bit.
But then he looked me in the eye and said something profound. He put his hand on my heart and spoke truth to my overthinking soul: I think you need to write from here and not for them.
I teared up of course. He’s not a writer, not a lover of words like I am. He’s an economist, a lover of graphs and numbers and theories.
But in that moment he could see more clearly than I could. He saw that I was worrying about “them” and in worrying over “them,” I was losing the message that had pulsed real within me.
Do writers have to consider their audience? Of course. But writing can become all performance and no heart if we’re not careful.
Those simple words centered me. And with every post and every topic, I hear his words. Write from here.
We write for different reasons and we write for different audiences, some larger than others.
For me, I write because I feel compelled to write. I would write even if there was no audience, though maybe not as often. And I do write words that no one reads, journal entries that chronicle thoughts and emotions too personal to share here. I don’t want to forget my story so I write it down.
But there are bits of story I share in this place as well. And in doing so, I hope to encourage, to build community, to speak truth and realness and to hope that it makes a difference in the life of some soul on the other side of the screen.
My sweet friend, Bonita, wrote a bit about this on her blog recently. I think about her words much like I think about my husband’s.
Write the words you’d want to read.
As I write, I often hear Bonita’s simple challenge in my mind and I ask myself, Am I writing what I’d want to read or am I filtering my message through the supposed responses and opinions of others?
I wonder if conflictedness is a normal part of being a writer. You want your words to read well. But you also want them to read true.
When I’m struggling to find the right words, questioning whether it could all be misconstrued, misunderstood and misinterpreted, I go back to motivation.
Am I writing from a place of truth and realness or from a place of performance? Do I start with the message just bursting within or do I start with an audience in mind?
I think the starting point makes all the difference.