A friend recently shared the Writing Contest: You are enough with me on social media. As a blogger, I’m always looking for new thoughts and ideas to share with my readers. But readers, hear what I have to say today. I love and appreciate you as a audience, but today, it’s time for you to pick up a pen and write something for yourself!
Two things have always drawn me to writing: the permanence of setting words to the page, and the impermanence of the things set down there. A story ends. A feeling subsides. A moment passes. Yet the words that tell those stories, convey those feelings, capture those moments remain, to be revisited as we wish…if we wish.
I started writing in a journal sometime around eight or nine years old. The things I wrote about felt enormous. The problems I faced, the things I didn’t like about my siblings, the funny stories from the backseat of the car on the family road trip, these things made up my whole world. My journal had a lock because my thoughts, my stories, were so precious that I was sure someone would want to pry into them, and I understood even then, that there was something different, something special, about setting words down and seeing them in print.
I continued to journal through high school and college. The stories and thoughts matured, sort of. Relationships came and went. Friendships came and went. Graduations came and went. Everything felt huge, cataclysmic, world altering. And some was, and some wasn’t, but setting it to the page gave me a chance to give attention to the the things I needed to in the moment. Sometimes putting the story in print was the key to moving on. I have journals riddled with angst and anxiety. And though the feelings have passed for me now, they are permanent there in those books. They happened. They mattered. They are validated.
As a budding writer, I believed it would be others that validated my stories by reading my writing. As I’ve written, I’ve learned that my stories validate themselves in being committed to words on a page. It’s easy to dismiss our own thoughts as bad ideas. A word comes out of our mouth and then disappears. It passes. People forget. We forget. Not so in print. It lasts. It lingers. It’s there to be viewed and reviewed. And that’s wonderful, and it can be scary.
But telling our stories should not be the scariest thing we do. Telling our stories should help us memorialize the scariest things we do.
Life is hard and scary and burdensome. Burden the page with your stories. People will help you carry some of the load, but sometimes we need to drop load entirely and move on to better days. The page will hold your troubles, your secrets, your stories, your fears, your burdens. The page will not judge. The page will not accidentally slip up and spill your secret to a friend after one too many glasses of wine. The page will not insist that you stop bothering it. You can’t overshare when you write. You can’t tell too much or tell it wrong. You can’t offend the page. You can’t exhaust the pen.
I used to hesitate to tell people I was a writer. They’d asked where I’d been published, and because I hadn’t, it would throw into doubt my status as a true “writer.” Don’t be afraid to write your story because, “You’re not a writer.” Being published doesn’t make you a writer…it makes you published. You’re a writer if you write. Pick up the pen, set it to the page, and begin. That’s it. You’re a writer.
As a writer, the most touching comment I can receive is when someone says my story inspired them to tell their own. Let this be your sign in the stars today. It’s time to tell you story. Write a song. Write a poem. Write a novel. Write a blog. Write a play. Write a letter. Write a journal. Write a little. Write a lot. No one can tell it like you can, and no one will tell it how you can. I’m honored you read what I write, but now it’s your turn! Your story. Your words. Right now. Just pick up the pen and write something. Whatever it is, it’s enough!