Today on the blog, we have guest Rebecca Sowden asking herself a question that many writers face regularly. When I read Rebecca’s work, I totally identified with it and I’m sure many other writers will too.
You’re not alone! And the advice I give members of my writing groups is: ‘You write, therefore you’re a writer.’ Remember that.
Am I a Writer yet?
By Rebecca Sowden.
I love the physical process of scrawling my thoughts on a piece of paper. Angry swirls of slanted, cursive writing provide me with a wonderful, freeing feeling. I have written great swathes of impassioned, frantic prose in order to express a range of emotions – most notably, anger and frustration. Writing anonymous letters that I don’t intend to send is my forte. In researching this piece of writing, I scrambled through drawers and cabinets to find hastily stashed letters to former bosses, family members and even my husband! I realised, I should have a Masters in angry indignation.
For someone like me, who lacks assertiveness, takes some time to process thoughts, recognise feelings and identify my own opinions, it is vital that I continue to use writing to express myself honestly and thoughtfully. I don’t think I am unique. It seems that this feeling is quite common, as I am discovering on my tentative venture into the land of blogging/writing.
When is it acceptable to think of yourself as a writer, let alone, describe yourself as such?
Writing my first blog post was an outpouring of authentic feelings, written at the end of a fabulous, restful holiday. That post practically fell out of me and into the notepad on my phone. The difficult thing was putting it out there for all to read – with my actual name on it! Doing so had a profound effect on my endlessly shaky self-esteem. So perhaps it isn’t just the process of writing which is cathartic, maybe sharing these feelings and any recognition received is the therapy?
Why am I now feeling the desire to share my writing with an audience? I have never experienced the compulsion for recognition from others. I’ve always been happy scrawling then hiding the results in a drawer! I consider any social media posts very carefully and usually use Facebook as a way of documenting some of the interesting milestones in life. However, it is clear that many people do enjoy sharing the minutiae of their existences with a social media audience – one of whom is me, since I read said posts! I wonder what drives people to do this and I’m not the only one. ‘Psychologists at Brunel University London surveyed Facebook users to examine the personality traits and motives that influence the topics they choose to write about in their status updates.’ They found that ‘Facebook status updates reveal low self-esteem and narcissism.’ Science Daily, 21st May 2015. Oh no! Does this mean that I am now a narcissist?
If social media posters are writing for a purpose and with an audience in mind, does that mean everyone is a writer? Or is there a difference between those of us posting and those who are blogging? In a time when we all seem to be writing more than ever, is quality more important than quantity and frequency?
Most importantly (and narcissistically), after sharing three blog pieces and starting to write regularly, can I do what I’ve always wanted since I was a little girl and think of myself as a ‘Writer?’