I work at a content farm because I don’t believe in myself as a writer.
I sell myself for one-page tech tutorials to strangers who wouldn’t recognize my name if they saw it a million times in 12-point font at the top of a page.
I can’t make my own writing perfect—no one will understand. I don’t read, write, or research enough to be a good writer.
It’s just too hard.
My ego is harsh and relentless, yet I still write three pages in the morning before the sun comes up because my brain is not awake and can’t criticize every word.
When I was seven, I wrote a book about child psychology on a typewriter next to the family dryer. But typewriters don’t have a backspace, so I retyped every page every time I made a mistake.
Writing is the reason why I moved to the desert, chose not to have children, and decided to live without a man —writing is everything to me, but I still make excuses for why I am not good enough to do it.
My excuses are endless: I need to work, clean the house, exercise, go out to eat, go to the grocery store, get some gas, or do anything other than writing so I don’t have to face failure. Because, let’s be honest, that’s what this is really about: fear of failure.
What if no one will read it? What if it’s not any good? I don’t have enough skin on my back to handle the rejection. There are too many writers, they don’t need my voice, and they’ll laugh anyway because I always have typos.
I‘m playing it safe and wasting myself as a writer.
The truth is: I know I’m afraid. I’m afraid I won’t be good enough for this lifelong dream I’ve had of becoming a writer.
I’m afraid I won’t be good enough for the little girl I once was who didn’t have any friends and practiced typing page after page until it was perfect.
And, I’m afraid to tell my truth and be seen.
I can’t just write anything. The nonfiction writer in me requires me to declare my raw, messy, f*cked-up truth by crawling out this hole I’ve been hiding in.
I’ve been hiding my truth from my family full of Mormons who would never say f*ck.
I’ve been hiding my truth about random stuff I stole and the amends I haven’t made.
I’ve been hiding the truth that can’t ever be erased on paper once I write it down and publish it.
So help me, God, I want to write what I am ashamed about, what hurts me, what makes me sad, and why I feel like hiding because I know there is a girl out there who needs to hear my story to write her own.
It’s the courage I don’t have, and I am afraid at the end of my life I’ll be a coward who didn’t write what needed to be said because what if I hurt someone’s feelings? I have been that scapegoat and taken the blame, and I might write the truth and crawl back in my hole because the shame was at one point too much to bear.
It isn’t anymore though. I don’t have a choice because all I am if nothing else is a writer, a truth-teller, and a warrior with a pen.
I am wasting myself as a writer because most days I am still in that hole trying to drown out the voices that tell me I will never be enough—that told that girl in sixth grade, “You don’t look like us, you don’t act like us, and you won’t ever be a writer worth reading.”
I scramble for my pen, desperate for them to be wrong as I try to find the words, but I’m afraid they’ll be right because it won’t get enough hearts or reads.
But, the more I write, the more I realize that being a writer isn’t about anyone else. Being a true writer means I write next to that dryer every day even if no one reads it because readers don’t make me a writer — that part is up to me. I’m an artist and have to see the words dance together making their music on the page and create the art I know I was born to make.
All we have is who we know ourselves to be. I came into this world with a purpose and fell into a prison of needing others’ approval. I craved the reassurance that others saw me the way I saw myself.
If they didn’t, I would abandon myself and everything I knew to be true. I wanted the likes and the comments to affirm that I was good enough to be who I am, to walk on this earth, or to use my voice.
So, I stopped wasting my writing on other people and started believing in myself. I used to put what I loved most in this world in the hands of strangers, but now I’ve stopped weighing my art based on what other people think.
“Tell me it’s good!”
“Tell me I am all right!”
Like that would make any difference? How could something so precious to me be placed in the value of people I don’t even know? How could I let them define my worth? All I needed was to write for myself and for that little girl who loved her typewriter.
So, each day I tell my critic to go back to the hole where it came from. Whether I write well or not, I deserve to write just as much as anyone else—I am still a writer worth speaking my truth whether someone else thinks it’s good or not.
I was born to do what I love.
All I can be is myself: a writer who owns her truth and shares what she’s been through because that’s who she is and that’s what she came here to do.