For the past three years, I have been keeping a virtual journal on a Word document. This morning as I was about to write another entry, I noticed how tiny the scroll box has become. The startling discovery I made? Nearly one hundred single spaced pages. That’s when I knew it was time for a major life change.
Ever since I realized my love of writing in high school, I have fiercely guarded my writing, cringing when a professor would read one of my essays in class (even though my identity was always hidden), dreading paper peer reviews even from good friends, keeping a ridiculously long Word document instead of creating a blog like a well-adjusted college graduate, hiding behind my half-full Moleskin as I opted to write about the Tuscany countryside instead of napping like everyone else on the tour bus.
Why am I afraid to expose my writing for the public eye? Well, I struggle with perfectionism. Although I’m not the brutal grammar police I once was, I am endlessly critical of my own errors or less than creative sentence structures. Pride doesn’t help either. But writing has been one of many saving graces for me, an outlet to help me express and explore the most shadowy corners of my heart, the places where I resist the transforming, mysterious power of simple reflection about what is happening in my life.
I’m inspired by Brenda Ueland’s “If You Want to Write” in which she wisely says, “If you want to write… Try to discover your true, honest, untheoretical self.” This is really what I have always wrestled with as a writer. Do I understand how to write without editing for shiny, precise vocabulary as I go? Do I sacrifice genuine, straightforward storytelling for the sake of trying to sound smart or poetic? I’ve always known that good writing happens when the author’s voice and personality isn’t shrouded in unnecessary flowery language, but is filled to the brim with honesty. Simplicity is beautiful. Okay, lest I write the longest blog preface known to man, I’ll stop here. It’s time to start some lentil soup in the crock pot. And in an hour, I have a phone interview for an exciting opportunity next year! Updates to come!