I’ve come to the realization that I’m afraid of writing. I know that some will empathize with that statement because they loath writing, because they don’t see the point of writing, because they’ve been paid big money to be coerced into a thousand too many term papers. But I’m a writer that is afraid of writing.
I think I was ten when I decided I was going to be a writer. This ambition took its place shortly after the tender Olympic figure skating dream that was shattered upon realizing that a) I lived hours from any ice rinks, b) I was already a head taller than Tara Lipinski AND Michelle Kwan, and c) any continued attempts at triple toes and sit spins would lead to multiple concussions and possible brain damage, thus hindering my plan to go from the Olympics to NASA.
After these crushing life lessons, I realized that being a journalist was probably the closest thing to being a figure skater, so I took my daily journaling habit to the next level, a kids’ magazine contest, and won $50 ($5 million in grown up terms.) Suddenly, my pink fuzzy diary and blue glitter gel pen held the glorious power of fame and fortune (imagine the crushing life lesson that followed that one.)
The enduring realization, however, was that writing was directly connected to my being, like I was made with a clause that said, “this product must regularly be tipped upside down [usually emotionally], emptied of words and ideas and filled back up with high doses of jazz and acoustic guitar.” So yeah, it’s pretty important to me. Granted, the majority (as in, 99%) of my writing in the past 6 years has been academic. But between my many journals, notebooks, iPod notes, sticky notes, blogs and tweets, I love me some words.
So why am I afraid, you ask? Because I’m a writer.
I’m afraid that I’ll say something stupid, or use the wrong word, or even ramble on about something that nobody will ever care about (case in point?)
I’m scared because it’s the one thing I’ve always been good at, the one thing that I have always fallen back on to boost my self-image, to sort things out and connect with people (and let us not forget the power of writing skills in the face of deadlines of all sizes.) And therein lies the risk: what if I’m not a good writer, after all? If I turn out to be mediocre (which is quite likely!), then I am probably mediocre or even worse at everything else.
For this reason, I’ve avoided my blogs for weeks now, excelling at drowning my ideas and my words in reruns on Hulu and the occasional (okay, frequent) nap.
But I need writing back in my life. I regret the breakup; it was me, not you. I can’t live without you, essays and blogs and songs and journals. I only have eyes for you, words.
So you, audience, you get to hold me to it. I am going to start writing for the sake of writing again. This means that I’ll say a lot of stupid things, and I’ll probably use commodious utterances when I should use little words and tiny ones when I should use massive ones. I’ll ramble (obviously) and once in a while, I might say something interesting (if sporadic pop culture references and the occasional pointless anecdote are your mug of cider.)
For now, I’m going to go dream in helvetica neue.