A writer stands out like a sore thumb—on Facebook, at least.
I never thought that I would submit an article to elephant on writing, but here I am.
As I prepare to pen another book—this one, hopefully, my rawest venture yet—I find myself thinking, even more than normal, about what being a writer means to me, and I think that what it means to me is, actually, pretty simple.
Writers choose, sometimes consciously and sometimes unconsciously, to connect with the underlying reality that overrides this superficial, artificial world that we all are forced to inhabit.
This is one of the main reasons why the Facebook newsfeeds of my fellow writers stand visibly out compared with the vast majority.
A writer passionately shares her work—her articles, her blog postings—and there’s a reason that she so readily shares these links: because she’s sharing herself within them.
I’d wager that the average writer posts more publications in a week than the occasional reader gets through in a year. Still, if I have to choose, with the little spare time that I have, to click “like” under your millionth musical lyric quotation or click on a catchy yet honest-looking article, I’m checking out that article.
If you think of the writers who have strongly and acutely impacted your life, they’ve likely done so because they connect with you on an internal level that many people don’t make it to.
Good writing allows you to validate thoughts, feelings and actions.
Your favorite writers likely forced you to admit something about yourself that you didn’t plainly see before reading those words. Your favorite authors help you to say exactly what it is that you so desperately need to, but can’t seem to get out. Your personal heroes of prose make you feel validated as a person—or, at the very least, they help you enjoy your moments of leisure.
I first began dating my husband when I was 14. Immediately, he taught me that the happiest and most engaging individuals are always genuine. It subsequently took me several years to be able to cultivate the confidence in myself to let this unique light of mine shine—to the people immediately around me, much less to people that I don’t know.
So what does this have to do with you? A non-writer? Perhaps, even, a non-reader? (Okay, probably not the last one if you frequent elephant.)
This has to do with all of us, because more people than not spend way too much of their personal time, in my less than humble opinion, sharing phony-looking photos on Twitter than they do on life issues that impact all of us. (Say, legalizing gay marriage or spreading the word about what healthy eating truly is, or, shock of all shocks, walking the talk and being that person you’re presenting yourself to be.)
Too many people post cutesie sayings and darling falsehoods, simply to create a “better” image of themselves—and to who? To a random co-worker? To a potential date? Or, worse, for themselves, because they haven’t yet figured out what self-love and acceptance are?
I’m not suggesting that you have to submit an article to elephant journal in order to be genuine (although, I’m not discouraging it either, because a surprising number of people have shown an interest to me, and then don’t do anything about it). However, what I am suggesting is that you consider taking down these walls that you’ve so carefully built, and that you live in. The walls around yourself, around your reflection—around your soul.
These walls, by the way, are made of glass. Their dishonesty is see-through—and unnecessary.
If the world doesn’t like you the way that you are, then learn to stick up your middle finger. At the same time, learning to embrace the vulnerability that typically penetrates reality is a gift towards freedom.
True freedom comes when you live every waking moment of your life as your authentic self.
After all, being someone else is exhausting—both to you and to the people who happen to love the real “you” hidden underneath all those layers. Consider also that sharing, and baring, my soul as a writer isn’t always easy—but it’s much easier than holding it in.
We all have a voice. Everyone has something special and important to offer our world.
Maybe you regularly put up those cheesy pop lyrics because, for you, this qualifies as writing that says what you can’t seem to say—yet.
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Ed: Kate Bartolotta