Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised to find that, not only had people read my posts, but they actually liked them. My immediate reaction was, “Well, now I can’t post anything new – what if they don’t like it and decide to ‘unfollow’ me?” That reaction was succeeded by, “Well, actually, now I have to write more posts because people have ‘followed’ my blog and I need to provide them with something to read – the implication of ‘following’ me is that there will be something more to ‘follow.’”
Nevermind the fact that, ultimately, any writing I do is for me. Yes, I want people to enjoy what I write. I would like them to find it interesting, enlightening and informative. I want people to find my writing fluid and easy to read. And I LOVE the fact that I have already had positive responses to what I have posted here.
However,…none of that really matters.
I have written numerous academic papers over the years. I wrote them because they were required of me, but, for example, I never once wrote anything on engineering or biology. I am a social scientist. Even if the actual writing was like pulling teeth, the subject was always something that interested me. I wrote what I thought was important and engaging (…except for those times when I threw some “crap” together at the last minute, which always turned out to be better than I thought while I was writing it). And these papers always seemed to please my professors.
I need to remember this, and not be afraid of what other people think of me or what I have written. How will I ever gather the courage to show my fiction to anyone if I fear what people think about my blog posts?
If I start writing for other people, then what I produce will inevitably be sub-par. So often I have heard the phrase “write what you know,” (which is not un-true). Well, more recently (thank you Chris Baty), I have heard “write what you love,” even if you are the only one who will enjoy it or want to read it. If what I want to read involves pink elephants singing and dancing under a purple moon, then that is what I should write. This is especially true for the stage I am, more or less, currently at – the beginning.
Be fearless in my writing and write for myself. These are my lessons for the day.
…Now on to that pesky last dissertation chapter.