Write for Yourself
For years I refused to label myself a “writer” even though I had written hundreds of newspaper and magazine stories. People treat you differently when they discover you are a writer. They have strange thoughts like expecting you to know their favorite author. “You mean you don’t know (insert name)?” And then there is the look of judgment when you misuse grammar. It takes a certain amount of courage to admit to being a writer since it opens you up to public scrutiny.
I found a sense of freedom from writing books that insist “You can’t write your story while worrying about what other people think.” Writers are a sensitive bunch. That is part of the reason I started a blogging Mantra #neveredityoursoul.
It is an honor to have an audience and truly enjoy when people reach out about a piece that resonated with them, but I don’t start with the audience in mind. Some of my favorite stories (like the ones about grieving the loss of a loved one) might not be viewed as the best quality, but they have brought healing to my soul. I have received some of the most earnest responses from hurting individuals who have shared similar emotions. It is painful to speak openly on the subject of grief, yet I feel the closest to those stories. My favorite columns aren’t fun to write, and I don’t expect fanfare. My most honest works tend to have a smaller audience. I labor over them more with the understanding they are less likely to get pulled into the system for syndication. It took some adjustment to having strangers declare which story of mine was “the best,” now I just shrug it off.
Edit your stories; never edit your soul!