Embarrassed

I’m always embarrassed when I look at my old writing. Like week-old relics from the past from the times when I was a horrible writer. Except, it was a week ago.

It’s so strange. Maybe I’m just too judgmental. I am incredibly judgmental of other people’s writing and I hardly ever like what anyone else writes. In my head I just think that I could do better. I mean, I’m reading Jane Eyre right now and I don’t think I could write better than Charlotte Bronte. She’s like, primo. But everyone else on the internet, floating around posting our opinions… I feel like none of us are very substantial writers. And maybe that’s the point.

Maybe the point is that we’re practicing. My mom is a writer. She worked for a newspaper before I blessssed her life and she quit her job to take care of me. She told me something she was told on the job – her boss said, pointing to people in the office, writing (on typewriters!) “look around. He was a business major. She was accounting. He was teaching. Don’t get a degree in writing. If you have a gift in writing, then you have a gift in writing. Just get educated about what you want to write about. That’s the real preparation.”

Maybe that’s why I get so heavy on the people who are putting their efforts into internet blogging… Because all of us are basically doing the same thing. Writing about a subject that we know more about than anyone else. Ourselves.

Our generation – we don’t generally research culture and ideology to write informed pieces on whatever. We write our heated opinions. Or more typically, in Christian circles, our experiences and thoughts on God. Not that this is wrong. I was listening to Grace, Eventually by Anne Lammott, the first Christian author in whose writings I’ve indulged, and I noticed a pit of frustration turning over in my stomach. I couldn’t figure out why – I liked her writing style before – was it her voice, listening to her on tape? No, I liked her voice… What is it?

I pondered this for a while and then I realized. What she’s writing about! She’s literally just writing about herself! Her experiences as a liberal Christian with pro-choice ideology, a ski trip with her son, the time she binge ate apple fritters and ice cream from a gas station – they’re all just about… her! Not that I would claim that she is not knowledgeable, because I’m sure she is, but for some reason she chose to simply write about herself. Curious. And a little infuriating. Does she really think that just writing all these little blurbs of her life down into a book will impact anybody? A little arrogant, honestly.

But then I remembered, oh. It did impact me. When I read her book the first time, it deeply impacted me. I was a bright eyed new believer very confused about how my liberal ideals and past life could fit in to the virginal, well-behaved culture with no cussing I was dipping my toes into. And my mentor Chris handed me Traveling Mercies. And it was nice to know that I was not alone in the struggle. That there was a women named Anne Lamott out there with a background like mine, with struggles like mine, with thoughts like mine. And I know many a liberal Atheistic convert to Christianity has found solace in the words of Anne Lamott, simply speaking of her life.

So that’s cool. Once I remembered all of this I realized that sharing our lives with each other can make us all feel a little less alone. Books can be great mentors and friends, and can speak to us if we let them. Blogs, I suppose, can do the same. And there is no shortage of experience that needs to be written about, since practically every experience can be related to – and the ones that can’t, we can most definitely learn from.

At some point, if we’re going to be serious writers, we should probably read hard books – classics, to expand our vocabulary, think new things and discover new ways of writing. I mean, seriously, if all of your vocab comes from the internet, what you write might be kind of bland. When I stepped into the before-mentioned Jane Eyre for the first time and had to look up every other word – and realized the deep, beautiful imagery she used to describe a bedroom – and how incredibly she could define wood – my writing was put to shame. It’s good to be humbled in the face of genius. And I’ve realized my writing is kind of bland, and my vocabulary is extremely limited. Eventually this will limit what I can write about and how I can speak.

And then, of course, if we’re going to write about things specific – racial issues, culture, feminism, Christianity, it will be highly important to learn the history of these very real sections of the past (and present.) I’m regularly ashamed of how little I know of American History. Just reading and learning everything you can is important.

But until then, or if you don’t have time, just write. Write to get better, write to share your experiences. If you’ve got the writing bug then probably one of your purposes on this earth is to write. It will make you feel good and hopefully impact other people. We all need someone to relate to. The internet (and honesty!) make this more possible than ever. I’m certainly embarrassed 10 minutes after I post something, but I’m gonna probably just leave it there. Who knows who needs to read the ramblings of a confused, rambling 22 year old from Michigan.

GIANT WRITERS BLOCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :(

I’m in a block!!!!
This is all coming from a place of massive anxiety!!
Which explains the exclamation points!!!!!!!
I wrote about my depression and now I have massive anxiety!
I can’t write anything down without feeling like everyone is going to judge it!
Before making my writing public on facebook, I was able to write when I felt like it, however much I felt like it!!!1
Now, I feel like I can’t write anything because it’s not real and authentic enough!
Or brutal enough!!!
I don’t like that everyone can see my blog!
I don’t know if I’m going to be able to write anymore!
I don’t understand how (OR IF)famous Christians stay humble!
I got a tiny amount of attention for my blog post about Depression and now I’m obsessing over to write next so that people will like it!
I can’t write at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
How can you be famous and not be obsessed with yourself???
I’m obsessed with myself!!!
I WANT TO PLEASE EVERYONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I’m completely blocked from writing because approval is at stake!
I can’t write raw and real and authentic all the time!
Sorry!!
Not that anyone was probably asking, but sometimes I just have to write whatever!!!!!!
And it’s not all gonna be good!!!!!!!
I’m just gonna keep writing, like I said I would!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
BECAUSE I WROTE MUCH BETTER BEFORE I LET ANYONE SEE MY WRITING.
BECAUSE IT WAS FOR ME.
I’M GONNA TRY TO KEEP WRITING FOR ME AND HOPEFULLY OTHERS WILL LIKE IT.
THAT IS ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

PHEW THAT FELT GOOD. OK. Hopefully I said everything I needed to to get over this issue. I can’t let myself get stuck just because people know what my blog URL is now. I still want to write from my heart because there are good things in my heart. And writing is my passion. But after getting compliments about my post on depression I got really cocky and obsessed with producing more writing that would be complimented. Because I’m fuckkkking obsessed with myself. I needed to confess that to the world because it feels good to just get it out there. I’m not some great writer. I’m not famous. I just got a few compliments and my ego/people-pleasing mechanism shot up to Jupiter. So I’m sorry for that. Sorry for using your compliments as a fuel for my BS. Really. I’m just gonna try to keep writing and slowly, hopefully learn humility along the way. Because I clearly do not have any.

The Decision

I’ve made a decision. The decision WAS this: I’m going to write every day no matter what even if I have nothing specific to say, just for the sake of writing and getting better.

This decision was a little too constricting. So it had to change. I realize that I probably won’t write every day, or every other day. Drop the standard, I’m just going to write. Hopefully every week. Every day, some weeks. Maybe. Maybe 3 days in a row and then a week off but really, the conclusion is that I am going to write, even if I have nothing to say.

I obsess over, well, what am I gonna write about? How will I come across? How well developed are my thoughts? Will people be moved by my bullshit? How am I going to convince people about God, life, love, whatever? Well, if there’s anything God has been teaching me it’s that I’m way too wound up with all my rules and expectations. They choke me from doing anything productive.

I know it’s important to fill the masses in with things that you’re convinced about and I wish I could do that. But I’m fucked up, I’m in the middle of the great overhaul that is my early 20’s, 22 to be exact, I have nothing much to share with the world of significance because I change my mind every other day. I’ve been a Christian for three years and I don’t have my stuff straight.

So if it’s all the same to you I’m gonna write, so that maybe when something eloquent drops into my head someday, I can, you know, wax eloquent.

But I’m not going to sit around waiting until that shit happens.

I’m just going to let everything kind of spill out here.

By God’s grace I won’t give up in three and a half days.