Writing is not always the easiest thing for me to do; especially writing in public. Writing, telling my stories, always makes me feel vulnerable. It’s better to stay quiet. “Don’t rock the boat”, they always said. “Keep your stories to yourself”, they always said. “Who do you think you are? Nobody wants to hear you”, they always said.
But you know what? My life has been saved over and over by the stories that people tell. I admire the brave men and women who tell their stories, sharing their vulnerable moments, their struggles, their sweet victories, and their painful failures. Their face down moments in the arena.
I think, the most powerful words are “me too”. They somehow make me feel less afraid, less lonely, a little braver, and a little bit stronger.
So I will keep on writing, even though it’s very scary at times. And I will keep on sharing my stories, even though it’s very scary at all times.
Because I would want you to do the same. I want to hear your stories. I want to get to know you. All of you. The real you. Not the mask you’re wearing.
Because when we stop hiding and start showing up; when we start telling our stories, we will realize that we’re not alone. We will see our connections to one another. And we will find with delight, those moments when we realize, “you’re just like me”
Two excerpts that I always go to when I feel particularly terrified to write and to share:
Talker’s Block – Words by Seth Godin
No one ever gets talker’s block. No one wakes up in the morning, discovers he has nothing to say, sits quietly, for days or weeks, until the muse hits, until the moment is right, until all the craziness in her life has died down. Why, then, is writer’s block endemic? …
… Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure. Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.
I believe that everyone should write in public. Use an alias if you like. Turn off comments, certainly–you don’t need more criticism, you need more writing. …
Climb the Right Ladder – Words by Chris Guillebeau
“It’s better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t” – Stephen Kellogg
… compared to a traditional career that might have offered more security, Stephen’s struggle to play his own music and cultivate his own fan base made him far happier.
When I asked what had changed after 1,200 shows, he said something else I liked:
“I’ve grown from a boy with an inclination into a man with a focus. It all started with a dream, but then I FOLLOWED that dream. Following the dream made all the difference.”
I felt the same way when I started writing. The early work I published wasn’t very good (and the work that I didn’t share was worse), but it still felt good to be doing it. When I woke up in the morning I immediately thought about what I’d work on for the next few hours. At night I’d go to bed thinking about how I could improve the next day.
When I started speaking at events, I was terrified – but in a good way. When I got the chance to write my first book, I was thrilled! I, too, felt like I’d found the right ladder to climb, even if I was at the bottom, and even though I had a long way to go.
If you’re doing something you love, it doesn’t matter that it’s challenging. You can keep going for a long time as long as you’re motivated – just make sure you choose the right starting point. …