If I’ve learned anything in my twenty-ish years, it’s that people care a lot about what other people think. Christian or not, having someone compliment you is an uplifting feeling. Whether we admit it or not, we all seek approval from someone for something. When I was young, the way other kids saw me mattered a lot—to an unhealthy extent, actually. Now? Not so much. However, there is one area where I guard myself. This is a little embarrassing for me to admit, but I am absolutely worried about how other people view my writing.
When I write something, it’s like my child. I want to see it do well in the eyes of others; I want other people to like it. I like to think of myself as quite the prolific and creative writer. I write poetry, short stories, and even sermons. Of course, I write papers, as every student does. Even with those, I tend to be a little scared. After all, I put all of that hard work into my writing. To see my paper bleed, thanks to a teacher’s red spear, causes my heart to drop. I am worried about letting others see my writing—any of it—for fear of what they will think of it, and, transitively, what they will think of me.
Do you like metaphors? I do. So here’s a metaphor. You’re welcome.
I don’t have children, so this metaphor might be a little shaky, but I was a child once, so I think I have a bit of a grasp on this. Remember earlier when I mentioned my writing being like my kid? Let’s explore that a bit more. You’re hit in the middle of the night with inspiration for poetry or a short story and you immediately write it down. You spend the next few days, maybe even weeks, refining it until you feel like it is finished. It is your masterpiece. You look upon your work with pride, as a father does when he is proud of his son. However, here is where things get a bit different.
When I did something good as a kid, my dad would tell other people. His friends at church would hear about my amazing feats (I had a few!) and he did not care what they said. He was proud of his son. With my writing, I want to tell everyone about it, but I dwell on the “what ifs.” What if they don’t like it? What if there’s something wrong with it? I’ve found countless others like me. They’re terrified of what others will think of their writing, so they tend to shrink away from showing people.
But you know what?
We need to own our writing. So what if people don’t like it? What if one does and it really resonates with him or her? What if, because of what you wrote, they feel inspired and want to write now. My inspiration came from my sixth grade English teacher, Barbara Adams. She encouraged my writing and even made me write poetry. I was terrified of sharing it, but she absolutely loved it. She wanted to share it with other people and that made me feel good. Yeah, there were some people that hated my first poem. They didn’t understand it, or they thought it was stupid, but because it resonated so much with my teacher, I felt inspired. In this crazy instance, my sharing of my writing inspired me.
I don’t know where I’d be without my love of writing. Definitely not at the Writing Center, that’s for sure. The steps to release your child into the world are extremely difficult, but they’re worth it. You can see it impact other people in different ways, but it is risky. I still have trouble releasing my writing into the public. I’m even terrified of blogging, but who knows? Maybe this will reach someone. Maybe what I wrote today will cause someone to overstep their fears and release their writing for the world to see. Don’t be afraid; be proud of your writing and let the world see it!
Written by Alfred