The Write Stuff

(Disclaimer: This blog expresses my personal opinion. It is not offered as a substitution for proper, professional care. Please do NOT try this at home.)

I’ve been writing now on a daily basis for almost eighteen months. Along the way, I’ve had all types of experiences, met mostly wonderful people, and, in general, grown immensely as a person.

I am a lucky writer. I came into this experience guided by a coach. I’ve had the loving support of a good friend. I’ve met others along the way whom I love, admire, encourage, and support.

I was blessed.

It is that simple.

I was also blessed to have a father who made his living writing.

One of the key things my father taught me was that writers need to protect their voice. This was not a recommendation to avoid or ignore meaningful critique, which would help a project grow, as much as it was a warning. He made clear the path was littered with hurt people, that the very act of claiming “I want to write” was enough to bring up the negative emotions of others. Sadly, one of his fiercest critics was my mom.

And yet, my dad endured. He wrote. He applied himself with professionalism and zeal. He licked his wounds. His recoveries were not easy affairs. I hated to watch him suffer. He modeled for me that recovery took as long as it took.

I was blessed to be raised by a man who was raised by a woman who honored emotions, and hence, my dad is one of the most emotionally solid men I know. He taught me not to be ashamed of how I feel, or that I hurt, or that the careless wounds of a friends or loved one were the most damaging of all. He taught me it is a duty to protect your voice and protected mine until I could care for it myself. Sometimes, he told me not to let people get my goat, which I discovered was another way of saying “don’t let people get to you.”

Problem is, people do get to me. I wonder, “Do I even have the write stuff?” I’d like to pretend a negative comment or an attack is something I brush off, but I don’t. Especially, not from a friend. In reality, most of us don’t brush it off nearly as well as we might hope, and yet, writing requires our ongoing visibility. You have to put your work out there in order to progress a writer.

Visibility is a tough one. I have (close to) 300 blog posts largely finished, not yet published. I fear personal attacks and calloused criticism. We all do.

So, today I am writing for one reason and one reason only: because I was back on the path to silence. I was returning to my shell. Because I had been wounded by someone I thought cared. As I write this, I am shaking. If I push the “publish” button, it could happen again.

And yet I’ll push it.

The harm was done, I hope, with no awareness.

I have a right to be here as much as anyone.

file4541253459208The lizard brain is working hard, trying to protect me and shield me. I must thank it for that service and offer it a break in the sun.

So, that today, every day, I can join the legions of people who sit quietly at their computers and scare themselves as they boldly go where they’ve never gone before.

11 thoughts on “The Write Stuff

  1. You know, I can totally understand your trepidation. Yesterday when I posted about the man at my miscarriage, I did so with much fear and trembling. I had worked hard at the post, but there was a current underneath it–the man at my miscarriage was not my husband. I became connected to my friend, and disconnected to my husband. There was so much vulnerability in the post, even though the event itself happened decades ago. I didn’t want to hurt anyone (and if I did, I haven’t heard). I was trying to focus on craft–and as you say, choosing to be a writer, is making a choice to be vulnerable.

    It’s so hard.

    But we do have to put our stuff out there. I for one, am so glad you did, and for this post in particular. It’s filled with the wisdom I’ve come to expect from you. There is such maturity in your words. Please don’t quit. I need you. And, I suspect, many of us do.

  2. You absolutely have a right to be here, and we need your voice. I’m proud of you for hitting publish. I have learned, and do still learn so much from you.

    And if I ever say anything unintentionally hurtful, please call me out on it!

  3. I echo what Crystal and Denise said: We need your voice, Tonia. I know I sure do. I understand well the lure of the shell, of the cave. I find myself teetering on the edge of that decision more and more often these days. I suspect that the decision to show up, to be willing to be seen is just about the most terrifying thing you’ve allowed yourself to do. So to borrow from my virtually non-existent knowledge of Hebrew, let me call “Eshet chayil” – woman of valour – and offer you whatever bits of my admittedly shaky courage you need.

    1. Linda, thank you. Being on the page IS hard, especially, for introverts. We have to make ourselves do it and band with all the other introverts (…I’ve counted two extroverts among all the writers I know who, their needs ARE different). Thanks for reading and following too. I’m honored.

  4. Antonio, it is a pleasure to be here and read you. Can’t thank my friend Sridevi enough for the recommendation. Cheers to that.

    Your writing is so honest and it is refreshing to find someone that writes from the heart.
    Thank you for the inspiration and incidentally my dad was and is my inspiration. He writes amazing poetry.
    And the one advice i got from him which I till this day hold it close to my heart is – “Let go and write and your only concern should be, to have an honest voice, which is yours and only yours. And don’t be scared to think outside the box.”
    Cheers n tc.
    Usha

    1. Usha, that’s excellent advice from your dad and thank you for your kind words about my writing and thanks to Sridevi too. The best thing to me about blogging is meeting other people from other places. Now, to check out your blog.

  5. It will be an honor to have you read my blog. For lack of time I don’t edit enough. So, please excuse me for the errors. I will be more careful in the future. 🙂
    Cheers n tc.
    Usha

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