Right off the bat, I have been writing ALL of my life. Every time I’ve burst into creative mode I’d run straight to my journal and write. Hilariously, or sadly, depending on how you look at it, I would start thinking I wouldn’t be stopped until a book was complete. Yes, you heard that right. Obviously I felt that creative and that motivated. The best part is I have always believed in myself so hard until someone on the outside crushed my dreams.
As for the writing. I felt free when I wrote in my journal. All the embarrassing or potentially judged thoughts flew out of my pen, pencil, crayon, or marker onto the page without hesitation. Mind you, I’ve been writing in a journal since I was 9 years old, hence the crayon.
This was the absolute start of my writing career. I think I can call it that without anything besides blog publishings? Anyway, for my 9th birthday, Summer of 1994, I recall my Auntie purchasing me a creamy peach colored journal with a lock on it. To which, only I had the code. Ah ha! My sisters and brother wouldn’t be able to make me embarrassed by any of my deep thoughts! Okay, I don’t recall this being an actual thought at the time, but it was a very important component of this diary. I will say that besides this ‘diary’ being especially top secret, I felt something new and exciting on the horizon that I could not put my finger on. I mean what kid actually gets excited about a diary? Writing for fun? I think of my daughter, about 8 months away from her 9th birthday and I’m not sure she would give me more than an eye roll. After eye roll, I imagine her telling me, “Mom, this is just something for me to practice schoolwork in, lame.” Something like that. No, it was because I could have a private space to be who I wanted inside. Write my loves, my hates, my frustrations, and feel relief. It was my ground control to Major Tom.
That Summer I began to write all the things. Although these diary entries were more like one-liners, or short blurbs about my feelings, it felt so good to get something out there. I tried to write every day and began to get so excited that I struggled to wait a whole day to write. After a little bit, I felt compelled to share my diary love with others. Maybe convince them to write, too.
Growing up I was part of this neighborhood crew that played every single day we could, year round. Naturally I burst with excitement trying to get them into a diary club. No luck. They were too young anyway. I was all about reading The Babysitters’ Club book series and wanted so badly to have some kind of club. I tried to get my school friends into having a babysitters’ club. Modeled after the one in the book and one of my best friends at the time wanted it to be way more serious then I did. After a hot minute, the members (my friends) would lose interest and give up, leaving me postulating the make of a new kind of club. I kept going back to the idea of an actual writing club. Something that forced me to write more. It sort of crushed my impatient 9 year old self that this wasn’t happening as I saw it. Maybe I was the only excited writer or maybe I had the wrong friends. Hint: it was the latter.
Quick history lesson on my elementary school years. At this time, my school-aged buddies were not such good friends. At 9 years old, you don’t know these things or have the confidence to navigate it. I give myself credit for trying so hard to stay with that group. They literally teased me so much I thought it would be better for me to do what they did and teased a special needs student, per their request. Not that the student took it any other way than me trying to be her friend. Instead of me having confidence in my inner Heather saying, do NOT listen to them and tease her, it won’t make you feel good or make you better friends, I committed the crime anyway. What person actually wants you to be cruel to another human so they will essentially be your friend? It makes me icky to take my memory there. Thinking back I realize now that I should have stuck with other groups of friends that maybe I felt less comfortable with and tried to grow their friendships.
Back to my writing. The point is, eventually my neighbors got a little older and soon the birth of the Diary Club came to be. We met in the Diary tree (a neighbors perfect climbing tree) where we carved our initials into the tree on each of our claimed limbs (seats). Finally! I had my little writing club. It ended up becoming more of a gossip girl group where we dished about the boy problems and things going on with our friends at school since we were in different grades. Not exactly the writing group I planned, but we did try to bring our diaries. Best of all, it gave me permission to write a LOT because I had to. Not really, I just made it that way in my head. Eventually people would get frustrated with the commitment to having a fun club that apparently wasn’t fun for my neighborhood crew anymore.
Evolving from age 9 to high school, I had gone through many more journals. Well, I called them diaries for a very long time. Pretty much had someone tell me it was more like a journal in my adult years and I started calling it a journal. I never stopped writing about my feelings, the people and moments of hurt, the happiness, the goals, the sweet moments. I did this because it felt good. It still feels good to write. The second I wake up (like today) and feel that burst of creativity the next thought that comes into my head is, ‘write about it, dummy’! I have always had creative non-fiction plot ideas and fiction plot ideas I dreamt of writing. Or love stories that popped into my head--tons of love stories.
Thinking. Why haven’t I ever finished one of these damn stories? I’ve been sitting here, in front of my fireplace writing for over an hour, without any hesitation, spilling my guts. There’s no reason why I couldn’t gush about two friends who rekindle friendship after years apart and find there’s a special romance that was bigger than ever before. How come I never went through with publicly discussing my blog on blogger that I wrote like 10 entries and it never became anything because I couldn’t let it.
Above all, I kept on believing that what I truly needed was a cheerleader in my court to gently nudge me through the writing blocks or boost my confidence meter when I’d get critical about how I wrote.
I’m throwing all that stuff away. I don’t want a book to tell me how my ideas should be laid out. Yet, that’s how we are told to do it. We are supposed to follow some rule-book on how to write a good story. Suddenly, it puts me in a creative block. It gets me down that my idea needs to fit a certain mold. I am not a cookie cutter human, nor are my ideas or thoughts. I’m a little weird, quirky, and occasionally have serious bursts of energetic exercise-like movements when I’m bottled up for too long (ADHD for sure). My ideas are unique to myself. No one can tell me they are not correct or right. The worst words ever are--stay true to your brand. Enter curse words here in response. I interpret that as me staying true to me. However that looks. Without apologizing.
This brings me to income. Money. Oh, the topic of money just makes me cringe. I am not going to pretend I don’t need it or want it to live my life the way I need to make it be fulfilling. It really gets to me when someone has the negative comments. How much money someone believes you should be making to live life isn’t anyone else’s concern. Someone placing your worthiness based on how much money you’re making. As if somehow a person’s income or net worth dictates how high on the priority list they will be. A really close friend once told me that your personal feelings and negative relationship with money needs to change in order to be able to fully receive it. Maybe I superimposed some of the verbiage but that’s the gist. Great advice. I think of it often.
If I write, I feel really good. There’s no doubt about it. Productivity goes up when you do what makes you feel good. It really empowers a person to get out there and get ‘er done. On a personal level, starting my day writing (it’s a challenge to stop) sets the tone for the day. It feels like I’ve already checked off some to-dos. Writing may not be your thing, but whatever it is. We need you. We need you in life to create or do whatever you have a passion to put out there, regardless of any financial gains someone expects of you. Throw away the textbooks because if it’s your passion then you’ve likely read them all, absorbed the shit out of them, and know that stuff like the back of your hand. Not saying we don’t need to be learning and evolving. I am saying that the very thing you love so much, that your heart has wanted to do so perfectly--does not have to be perfect! I have noticed how quickly we worry about the thing we love being imperfect and keeping us from beginning a passion project or starting a new venture. Even if you know it can be super successful.
Do that thing! Don’t be ashamed of it. Don’t be worried of it being criticized, it will be. Especially by those that are jealous of what you are doing. Don’t let it throw you. Let it fuel you to keep going. Even people you love will find a way to mess with your head when you start doing things out of the norm. Take that negativity and let it be a reminder you’re actually doing exactly what you are meant to be doing. As always, stay kind and be free to be well however that looks for you.