That Feeling You Get When You Think You’ve Penned the Best Piece of Your Life And It Has 41 Green 💚’s. And You’re Like, What THE FUCK, Medium?
O hai all. So. I wrote a piece about my new tattoo and my husband of nearly 17 years being the steady, sane dragonfly to my kooky, off-kilter butterfly. When I finished it, I cried and turned to him and said, “I’ve written a lot of stuff in my life. But I think this is the best thing I’ve ever written. But before I publish it, I need your approval.”
Dave didn’t love everything about it; the part when I mentioned the longterm affair he had, that sent me into a death-spiral, wasn’t exactly a favorite.
But Dave is a writer; we met in a newsroom. And so he gets it. The need to tell painful truths without a filter of kindness in favor of the raw spectra of light? Wins every time.
Publish it, he said.
And I did.
All you other writers out there, who, like me, have decades of experience and thousands of bylines under your belt: you know you don’t say “This is the best thing I’ve ever written,” lightly. Without a measure of fact.
Every word written and published is a chosen one. Even if, later, you’d amend those words. Because you’ve become a better writer, a more concise editor; read more stuff by writers you only wish you could be.
And so: when I see the Medium stats on the Best Piece I’ve Ever Written, I die a little.
I secondfifthfortietheleventymillionth guess myself and I realize? I ain’t all that. Sure. I have a strong voice and a relatively steady hand. Folks here respond to the raw and the feedback is AMAZING.
And that is part of the problem.
Living in an echo chamber might be a safe space, but it doesn’t and won’t make me grow as a writer. In fact, it makes me lazy.
My earliest pieces were raw and stream-of-conciousness and I wrote for me. To let out the thoughts and feelings and pain of 50 years. I was brought to this place by a wonderful human being, @panellington. They and I don’t currently speak, because I hurt them. That is all I can say about this author, this amazing person.
So what is this post about? Welp. Good question, Lovely Reader.
Accountability. This post is about accountability to the craft of writing. Accountability to being an authentic person; not using this platform to boast or boost or brag or get my green hearts because I need to be authenticated.
Every single word that I have written on Medium has come from my heart. The idea that shitty stats, on a piece I love? It bothers me, and disappoints me, as a writer of truths and pain and life and love and loss, that I care about numbers.
Why am I here, if not for sharing and exposing and LEARNING? Why am I here if not to connect with others who hurt and need and heal and seek and want?
I am proud of most of the work that I’ve done here. It’s the rare time that I have ever held back from sharing my feelings, consequences be damned. And by that, I mean: I have not censored myself in order to curry favor or get clicks. I’m not that fucking in love with being liked.
But I need to block stats: to shut off the drug of approval and 💚 and likes and shares. Because, with all due respect? None of it matters.
What matters here is releasing the pain. Sharing the joys of love and life. Telling the stories of hurt and darkness that yield survivorship and still result in slim layers of strength that lift and prop. All the while examining the nuances of evil and good that worm their way into my soul.
Your soul, too.
We connect, you and I. Because you’ve been through it, too. Or maybe you love someone who has been through it and you’re trying to understand it because you LOVE THEM SO FUCKING MUCH YOU WOULD DO ANYTHING TO TAKE AWAY THEIR PAIN AND MAYBE IF YOU UNDERSTAND IT, BY READING ABOUT IT? They will open themselves up to you and allow you in.
So here is to re-booting. To writing for me. For my life and my heart my soul my need to connect with others. I will be on here with more of a purpose and less of an attitude. (Ok no. I always have an attitude) I will read more Joel Leon. And more Ezinne and Joel and Dominique Matti and Alexainie and alto and Solitary Cook and Thin Man and Jewel and SLynn Knight and Son of Baldwin and Tremaine L. Loadholt and Todd Hannula 🤓 and Erin Lee Carr and @hnemesislex and Gutbloom and you. Especially you.
Peace and grace, 🌻Heather🌻