When I grappled with starting a blog about writing, I talked myself out of it many times. I was sure that I couldn’t write anything that hadn’t already been written. What could I possibly have to say that was new, relevant, and connected to readers that hasn’t been done before?
I sabotaged myself with negative thinking before I even began. Before I had typed a word for my blog, I decided that others were better than me, I couldn’t come up with original ideas, and I wouldn’t gain enough followers to make it worth the effort.
It took some committed efforts at self-improvement to realize how backward my thinking was.
Are there other writers out there better than me? Yes.
My mistake was comparing myself to them. Sure, I might be writing about topics that have been covered before, but I have never covered them before. My thoughts are important to someone.
That’s where I realized I had made my second crucial mistake. I was thinking about followers and gaining approval rather than fulfilling my purpose for writing in the first place. I want to write because I have something to say. I want to write because I enjoy it. Sure, I also want to make a living, but it’s important to write because it makes me happy.
If I am being genuine, the followers will come. And if they don’t, that’s okay. If I’m doing something that brings value to my life, then my time has not been wasted.
It is important that I believe in my words. Most people can tell when someone is being fake – even through a computer screen. I should respect myself enough to write and understand that my words are valuable, even if no one else reads them.
When I first began writing, I kept it private. It was just for me. It took a lot of trust and closeness with someone for me to share it. Now that writing is my business, I feel pressure to write for others. While it’s important that I know my audience, I’ve learned that obsessing about them keeps my writing from being genuine.
I have found that the best way to write is to let my fingers dance across the keys as if no one will ever read my words. If I produce something that I want to share with the world – great! I submit to publications or publish it on my blog. If not, I keep it with the understanding that those words are for my eyes only. Maybe just for now or maybe forever.
The point is, I’m not writing for anyone else, and I’m not trying to copy another writer’s style. I’m allowing my unique voice to shine through my work. I am giving my words the freedom to spill out onto the page uninhibited.
When I do this, I often discover things about myself that I didn’t know were there. I develop new, unexpected ideas, and sometimes my topics take me in a direction I didn’t expect.
If you’re a writer, don’t count yourself out even if you feel discouraged. Writing is not as easy as some would have you believe. It is in high demand and always will be, especially in the age of advancing technology. Genuine, passionate writers are hard to find.
Just because you aren’t covering a new topic doesn’t mean you don’t have something unique to say. There was only one Charles Dickens. There was only one Jane Austen. There is only one J.K. Rowling.
There is only one you. You have something to say. Your words are valuable. As long as you understand that, the rest will follow.