And not just because I decided to start my own blog. I do make a living writing, both full-time and part-time freelancing (I know what you’re thinking, “Who’d she sucker to pay her to write for them?” But believe it or not, I live off my writing. That should give you not-so-confident writers something to have confidence about. If I can do it, anyone can.). The thing I love most about writing is that as a writer you are always (or should be) growing and learning. I know I am.
The two hardest aspects of writing for me is opening my soul to criticism and writing outside my comfort zone. But the thing about challenges in writing is that what you find most challenging is what causes you to grow the most.
I’m quiet person, especially around people whom I don’t know because I don’t want them judging me. Yet when I write, I pour my soul onto a piece of paper, opening my thoughts to criticism. A good writer writes from their heart because wise man once said that if the writing doesn’t move the writer, it won’t move the reader. I have no choice but to write down my deepest thoughts and allow them to be criticized. My least favorite part about writing in college was passing to a friend a paper that I had worked hard on, put my heart into, and shared my deepest thoughts in. I would always make excuses before handing them my paper: “don’t judge, I was tired when I wrote this” or “this paper isn’t really that serious.” I was afraid. Would they think my thoughts were immature? Would they think my writing style amateur? Four years of college does not prepare you for when a friend says, “I didn’t like this about your paper.” Because really, I feel like they are saying they don’t like a part of me. But I realize that they are just trying to grow me. And it does grow me. I learn to humble myself, take their criticism, and become a better writer.
But what grows me the most is writing about things I do not know much about, things I wouldn’t normally write about, or things that get me out of my comfort zone. When I write for my clients, I have to write things that are hard for me. I love research, when it’s about history, but researching and writing about topics that don’t interest me are difficult. I sit there looking at my computer screen like “what the heck do they want me to say?” Each time I sit by my phone scared to death to interview someone (I’m not a journalist by career), listening to my recorded interviews, criticizing my choice of questions, my hesitations, and the very sound of my voice, I realize that I am growing. Every time I have to gather information about something I uncertain about, fill a page with words I am not an expert on, and explain something that I myself just learned through research, I realize that I am growing. I got past just one more hurdle and have become a better writer for it.
The most important thing though about being writer is getting your message across. If you don’t get your message across in way that your audience understands, are you really a writer? And if your writing doesn’t even have a message, are you even writing? I was taught that if you can sum up your writing in one simple sentence, then you did a good job. Let’s see. For this blog—writing is opening your soul, getting out of your comfort zone, and getting your message across. I guess I did okay.
And remember—if there is one thing that I learned at college, repeated in every college class, is never stop writing. Write about something every day. Keep a journal. Write drafts. It doesn’t matter how bad they are if you are the only one reading them. Just never stop writing.