This year I am doing NaNoWriMo and one of the Detroit region pep talks for the week included these words:
Words have power. Your words can change the world. But before they can perform this feat, you have to write them. They do no good trapped inside of you, slowly driving you mad. Now is the time to give those voices and stories and world changing ideas the freedom to spill out onto a page and be preserved there for all of us to learn from.
Ever since I was small, I wanted to be a writer. I was always writing. Even before I knew how to read and write much or could really hold a pencil, I voiced the concern to my family that I would very much like to keep a journal. When the fine motor skills developed, I was off like a rocket.
Then…somewhere along the line. Something happened. I became afraid of my words.
For starters, I had this idea in my head for a long time that I was too young to write a lot of the ideas that I had. I wasn’t “good enough” yet. I had to spend more time practice my writing and learning about writing. This is rubbish. Not only are there plenty of talented young writers, but every writer spends a lifetime learning their craft. If I wait until I’m a “perfect writer” to get these thoughts down in print, it is extremely likely that I will never write them. In all honesty, I’ll probably forget the things that inspired me to write them in the first place. And, if they turn out to be absolutely shit, I can always try again later.
Second, at some point in my life, I grew afraid of having an opinion. I had always been a shy girl, but when social media started becoming more and more intrenched in the world around me, I suddenly became more and more terrified of my thoughts and words. I didn’t want to say something and start a fight. I didn’t want people who perhaps disagreed with me to think less of me. It wasn’t, necessarily, that I didn’t want to be disagreed with (I love to be engaged in good debates); it was more that I didn’t want people I cared for to write me off because I didn’t share their opinions. As someone who tries their best to research things, I was also very nervous that I would miss an important angle and others would judge me because of it. It wasn’t just political things. I didn’t want to say I was sad that day for fear of people taking it the wrong way. I kept most things to myself and that I did say, I agonized over for hours after it escaped to the world. Many stories and essays did not get written because of this fear. How horrifying is that?
I made a pact with myself in September to stop being so fearful when it comes to my thoughts and my writing. Also, I’m going to try to update this more. Blame nanowrimo.
Let’s see how that goes.