I’ve blogged on and off for years, finding my voice, the time and inclination to write coming and going with the changing seasons of my life. I am comfortable calling myself a writer now. My work has been read, recognized, shared, re-blogged, commented on, tweeted, or Pinned by millions. I’ve gotten positive responses from readers and publishers all over the world. It’s my passion, and someday I want to call it my career. I’m proud of my writing; what an immense honor it is to have a voice in a world full of distractions, and as such I feel a responsibility to my craft and to the people who lend me their attention amid their busy lives. My most recent post, I’m Sorry for Staring, touched many deeply, and their comments in turn touched me deeply. But of the thousands of responses that made my heart soar, it took one hurtful one to bring it crashing down to a place where my fingers trembled over the keyboard, uncertain of what to write next. Suddenly, my so-called gift felt like a weapon; something capable of moving readers to tears had simultaneously, for at least one reader, inspired something ugly and hurtful. My post got picked up by a couple of legitimate publications, and shared over 100,000 times in it’s first day, which was a pretty cool moment in my fledgling writing career. That it, and I, had been judged so harshly by one friend made me not want to write again, for a minute anyway.
Undoubtedly, I’m not the first writer to draw a parallel between the vulnerabilities of writers and those of parents. This is a struggle writers know as well as a mother putting her first born onto a school bus on the first day of school. And yet most people probably don’t think about what goes on behind the laptop when someone writes a blog, any more than they think of what a line cook puts into their cobb salad: The nurturing of a body of written work to its maturity, standing back and gazing at it proudly before finally, reluctantly, inviting the world to consume it and inevitably discard it with the click of a mouse. The fear of rejection, of putting something out there and having it criticized, judged, or worse, overlooked entirely, is what has turned me away from the keyboard, and at times even the screen, for months at a time.
Sadly, a lot of bloggers relate to having their work ignored or even deeply insulted by IRL [In Real Life] friends or even family. I could probably postulate on why this happens and certainly write more posts on it. But for now, I’ll stick to writing the posts and stories that inspire or help the readers and publications who do support me.
I’m happy to say that, by this hurtful experience, my skin got a little thicker, and my fear a little less powerful, which in turn will only make my writing bolder, my voice stronger, and finally, my posts more frequent because I’ve overcome one of the biggest things holding me back. The other is time, but that’s a whole other post.
To the people who encouraged and inspired me to write this post and pretty much all of them [and you know who you are] thanks for being REAL.