There is so much going on in my head when I write, maybe too much for my own good. With all the injustices going on in the world today, breaking news, records being broken, births and deaths, it's a wonder I cannot find one thing to write about. Not a single one. Perhaps there are too many things to talk about. There’s the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, North Korea nuclear tensions, sexual harassment scandals breaking, protests, crimes, killings... and the list continues. Is not one able to elicit a reaction from my pen?
I second guess these leads. “People have had enough of the depressing news. They need something more uplifting”, I tell myself, and I start on “Twenty ways that cookies are better than muffins” or “you know you’re a Gemini when…”. As I ramble about desserts and horoscopes, I feel useless. Who really cares about this? Is anyone listening? Does my work make an impact?
Last week, I met with some friends. One of them mentioned my last article he saw linked to my social media. I lit up with a smile, excited that my words were reaching someone.
“You had a deadline approaching, did you? I could tell from reading it,” he said, “It seemed like a topic you’d write last minute.”
My face froze, my smile becoming forced instead of genuine. I didn’t mention that I spend hours researching that piece, interviewing friends and family for ideas. His two sentences or so shattered any semblance of pride I felt as a writer.
On the phone with my dad, I asked for his opinion on my latest piece about politics. He sat silent, asking, “what piece? You publish articles?” My own family was clueless that I wrote, spilling my heart into my articles every week with the intention of at least finding faithful readers in my family. They, too, overlooked how important my words were to myself, a voice that could reach farther sound louder than anything I could say from my mouth. Apparently, my writing fell on deaf ears and blind eyes.
When family, friends, partners, classmates, everyone we need for support doesn’t seem to understand what writing means, doubt creeps in. Does this matter? Is my writing worth it? Will this be enjoyed by others? Once the answer becomes a hesitation, or worse yet, a no, the uncertainty grows exponentially.
After the phone call with my father and the night out with friends, I sat down to pound out an article for my deadline and nothing came to mind. No burning ideas, not about world politics nor my dessert preferences. Their comments about my writing, or lack thereof, so deeply affected my drive to write. My work should not depend on the help of others, but in reality, it truly does matter when people read what I have to say and when others listen to my ideas, no matter how much they agree or disagree.
Parents, friends, colleagues, we as creators need your support. Give affirmation that you read our content, that you agree or disagree, that you took the time to acknowledge that it's scary and a vulnerable feeling to put our work out there.
Take a moment and just acknowledge a creator's work- like their post or add a quick comment. It may just help rebuild them from their doubts as a writer.