Within the last year the amount I have been writing has increased daily. I was presented an opportunity that, even though I spent countless moments going back and forth with it, I ultimately could not pass up. I knew since then that I had to buckle down and start writing, and writing and writing, seriously, too. There was no longer time for constant stares at blank pages. There were deadlines to be met and readers to impress. There was also one big fear to overcome. One big lesson to learn.
Stop worrying about what others think.
You may not be shy to the saying “write now, edit later”. It speaks for itself and is probably one of the best writing advice out there. However, I still find it extremely hard to follow. I have experienced so many moments where all I wanted to do was word vomit all over Microsoft Word but felt myself stuck. It wasn’t that I was experiencing writers block though. I had all these ideas going through my head that I could work with but other thoughts were overpowering them. That constant fear of “what if someone doesn’t agree with this?” “how would others take this?” and “who is actually going to read and understand this?” were holding me back from writing anything at all. Eventually when I started to write, I would stop, re-read it, tweak it and press the backspace button until I was facing a blank screen again.
How did I overcome it? I tried my very, very, very best to write for just myself. Believe me, it was quite hard. You know when people are afraid of public speaking and the advice is to just picture everyone in the audience in their underwear? It’s kind of like that. I still knew in the back of my mind that what I was writing was going to be read by many (well, hopefully!) and that I had people to impress but right now, I just wanted to impress myself.
The other thing I’ve learned is to become a bit more personable. That’s tough. Even for someone who blogs often. I’m not sure how I have managed to blog all these years and avoid getting personal whenever I can. I’m not sure it’s the whole “ah, this is going to be out on the Internet, I don’t want strangers to know so much about me” theory. I think it just feels awkward. It feels awkward to sometimes even just pose a question to strangers on social media and get a conversation going. But, I know afterwards I’m always happy I did because it teaches me a lot about the community I’m in, it inspires more writing topics and, of course, it builds connections.
In the end, I somehow found myself writing a book. In the end, I somehow found said book getting published. I would be lying if I said I still wasn’t a tiny bit worried about what others will think even though the writing process is over. However, I’m trying very, very, very hard to not let that over shine the excitement I have inside. I’m trying very hard to remember that I wrote for myself.
– Lu Ann Pannunzio
Follow Lu Ann @teaaholic