On writing for yourself

I am not a writer. At age eight I began to tell my family and friends that I was going to be one, and so began my illustrious writing career.

One day in the third grade I was for some reason allowed to spend three uninterrupted hours at my classroom’s computer, and there I wrote my first short story: The Leprechaun Adventure. It was eighteen pages long typed in 18-point font, and an absolute masterpiece.

I don’t know why so many girls in my generation found themselves morbidly fascinated with the Salem Witch Trials at a young age (and why the adults in our lives weren’t more alarmed by it) but around age ten my storytelling was dominated by witches and fake spells and historical inaccuracy. Because this was also the point in my life where I decided I was a very talented fashion designer, these stories were often accompanied by dark, dramatic (terrible) sketches of cloaks and gowns.

In the sixth grade I decided that I was very misunderstood and also very much a poet. There were composition notebooks filled with angst darker than my smudged eyeliner. I was an absolute nightmare and I’d like to formally apologize to everyone who experienced it first hand.

The point here isn’t about what I was creating, but the simple fact that I was creating. I wrote freely and I was excited to do it. I genuinely enjoyed writing and I wasn’t thinking about what people would think of the content while I was writing – I just wrote.

Fast forward ten or so years and I’m incapable of writing anything without imagining someone hating the writing or the story or me. No one asked for eighteen pages of my friends and me chasing a leprechaun through the green hills of Ireland, but they damn sure got it and I can’t remember being so proud of anything I’ve created since then. Those sixth grade poems were god awful, but they were as real as the feelings I experienced.

When I was young I wrote because it made me happy and I had stories to tell. I still have stories to tell, but I’ve lost sight of the joy in the process and become insecurity in my ability to see the stories through.

There are things I need to say that I’m not ready to put a face to. That feels a bit cowardly, but it’s a start. I need to heal. I need to move on from some things that I’ve experienced. I need to create new experiences and stories for myself. I need to remember how to do that freely and because I want to – not because I feel obligated to follow a specific formula in order for my writing to be consumable. I need to write for me.

I’ve struggled for a long time with what I considered “perpetual writer’s block,” but I now realize that it’s just my insecurities manifesting in the most obnoxious ways. I still don’t know what this blog is going to take shape as, but I’m hoping that having an outlet for my frustrations and inspirations will allow me to combine the two into something wonderful. I don’t think there’s another Leprechaun Adventure in my future (that was a once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece), but it’s at least worth a try.


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