Writing can be cathartic, healing, freeing. Writing helps me think. Writing is the best way I express myself.
But we often talk ourselves out of writing, don’t we?
Anything I could say has already been said by someone else.
Maybe. But each generation wants to hear from its peers as well as its ancestors. And no one else has our exact perspective or sphere of influence.
It’s scary to bare our souls to the general public. What if people laugh – when I didn’t mean to be funny? What if readers belittle and criticize my carefully measured words? Or, worse yet, what if my writing is ignored?
Writing requires a certain amount of vulnerability. But that vulnerability is what makes it good and keeps it from sounding canned and fake. That’s what invites readers in and helps them connect.
Writing is risky. Any of those scary scenarios might actually happen. No one will please everyone. Look for truth in any criticism. Learn from it. Use it to improve. Grow. Ignore haters. Keep going.
My writing isn’t good enough. So many others are much better writers.
There will always be people who write better than we do. There will always be room for improvement. But you know the only way to be a better writer in two, five, ten, twenty years? Start writing now.
Are any of us “enough” in the sense that at this very moment we have all the knowledge, skills, and experience we will ever need?
No. But we have enough to start.
To get there, we have to start here.
It’s in the process of writing, in making mistakes and learning from them, in exercising our writing muscles, that we improve. A baby learns to walk by taking one faltering step at a time. In the process, despite many falls, muscles strengthen, balance improves, sure steps increase until finally the baby is not only walking, but running. But walking never happens without those first shaky steps and many stumbles.
Take in: learn your craft, read books and blogs about writing, attend conferences, listen to speakers.
And step out. Go ahead. You can do it. Before long you’ll be running.