Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Epiphanies and Exorcisms (in other words, why I write...)

I'm a writer. I put myself out there, some people say too much.

I've had a few epiphanies about myself in the recent days, one of which pertains to this issue directly. It's a simple reason, actually, but a sad one too.

I tell the world so much about my life because I don't have my parents here to share it with anymore. I can't pick up the phone and tell them about whatever the baby just did or the kids said. I can't tell them about our tiny victories and daily struggles.

My parents are gone.

So I tell you all instead.

It wasn't exactly a comforting thing to realize, but it made a whole lot of sense.

Incidentally, I don't say this to elicit sympathy in a woe-is-me type of way at all (regardless of what some people may assume about me). I'm telling you because I truly just recently realized this, and because it explains a little bit of why I am the way I am. I like understanding things like this about myself.

Anyhow, I've been thinking about writing a lot lately, about why I do it and about what it means in the overall scheme of life. I've been thinking about it far more than I've been doing it, obviously, since I've hardly published anything lately. I have more than a few posts that I've started, then abandoned. They're all sitting in my drafts folder, staring at me, seeming to ask me if I'm ever going to finish them.

Truth is, I just don't know.

I've told you all so much about myself, about my family, and yet in the same time I've revealed almost nothing. It's tricky, this writing lifestyle. I share, and some believe I share it all, but I know that there is so much that I keep close.

So, so much.

As my older kids get older, I share less and less about them. Intentionally.

There's an abundance of material to write about when it comes to parenting teenagers, no doubt...but there comes a point in their lives when their stories are theirs to tell, not mine anymore. As a parent, I feel like I have to respect that. My job as a protector has to be more important than my job as a writer.

I was talking to a friend, another writer, about all this recently. About how, as a writer, there is this virtually constant struggle in our minds about our reasons and motivations for what we do. About how easy it is to get sucked into the egotistical world of writing simply for pageviews.

I've had posts go viral.

It's not all it's cracked up to be. I promise.

For as much as the exposure is amazing and ego feeding, it carries a cost too, the greatest of which is that it opens you up to unyielding criticism from people who've never read anything else you've ever written, will never read another thing you write, and feel justified in hating you for whatever your words are that threatened them in whatever way they threatened.

For the most part, it's just not worth all the aggravation.

As writers, we want to be read. We want a connection with people who read our words.

Viral posts don't really accomplish any of those things, at least not in the way we think they should.

The draw of virality is alluring, but once you've been there, you don't necessarily want to go back any time soon.

Most of what I write never goes viral. Most of what I write is read only by the most dedicated of my fans. Most of what I write anymore is written for reasons unrelated to any desire for publicity, written because I just need to write it for myself.

Which is why I started writing in the first place all those years ago. For me.

It's funny, because the posts where I am the most vulnerable, the ones where I admit the things that are difficult, where I write about the hard stuff in my world...they bring their own set of problems.

I usually get people messaging me, asking if I am okay. I have friends or family ask me questions. I even (thankfully only occasionally) have people leave me horrible anonymous comments questioning if I am fit to parent in whatever condition they believe me to be in.

^^^those suck by the way....seriously, don't do that to people.

Here's the thing that far too many people who aren't writers baring their souls to the universe don't always understand...

When we write these deeply personal posts, it's as if we are exorcising the demons in a way. Once the words are outside the confines of my head, they are less burdensome. Once I admit what is going on, it bothers me less. Once I let it go, it can't hurt me nearly as much anymore.

I truly write to stay sane, at least marginally so.

There's therapy here.

It's not the most conventional type of therapy. I realize that. I'm not the most conventional person, either.

What I am, though, is real.

No pretense here. No facades. I don't sugarcoat things and I don't do manufactured drama.

If that hasn't scared you away yet, thanks for staying.


Coffee's on.

Pull up a chair. xo

4 comments:

  1. Girl...you hit writing right on the money. Totally relate. Used to think it was to help others and finally saw the pattern...it was for me. Saw a quote that says it all.."Living involves tearing up one rough draft after another." ~Unknown

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  2. Writing, especially publicly, is such an interesting balance between sanity of self and privacy for self and others. I, personally, never thought of myself as a writer, yet it's always how I work through things, how I share, and also how I grow.

    Since becoming a blogger, I've gotten more and more comfortable thinking of myself as some sort of writer. My style nay be vastly different than the next person, yet so is my life and mu struggles.

    Plus, I have a way to share family and life stuff with someone. I can document my growth and my family's growth without alienating anyone, while also getting it out there even Iffoundftended family doesn't listen. :)

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  3. You speak/write the truth! I started writing to help others feel not so "alone", spread hope and raise awareness; and in turn it has helped me so very much. I have met so many wonderful people. And yes, there will always be those people that want to criticize no matter what. What I have learned about those people is that it reflects upon them, not me. I know who I am, my loved ones know who I am, and that is what honestly matters. Love you woman!

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  4. It's a delicate balance, this disclosure stuff. You dance it well. Xoxo

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