Finding My Voice: If No One Read My Post, Did I Write One?
I have pursued this writing thing for 4 and a half months. If all I could wring out of my muse was a haiku a day, I accepted that. I progressed into producing 1500–1800 words a week, with my goal being a minimum of 3500 words a week.
In the past, when I considered writing as a serious hobby that might evolve into a vocation, I usually thought of fiction. As a college student I wrote poems and song lyrics. They were bad, yet I had fun creating them. I discovered I had a knack for writing, but no idea how to develop into a good writer. So at the start of this year I quit piddling with the idea of writing and embarked on the 52 week writing challenge. In that time I have written:
- 14 non fiction pieces with common themes of self improvement, emotional health, mindfulness, and recovering from childhood trauma.
- 3 poems (Although 2 of them were written earlier. I reworked them before publishing for the 52 week challenge).
- A haiku a day for 30 days.
- 5 short fiction stories with the following plots/characters:
1. A 10-year-old child bullied by peers is rescued by a neighbor who is blind, and not as benevolent as he appears.
2. A young man with special needs tries to rescue his dog from a street smart kid wanting to join a gang.
3. A female psychic vampire pursuing a man who is genetically a woman.
4. A doctor returns to his dysfunctional family for Thanksgiving as his older brother whose shadow he grew up in is dying (not yet published).
5. A once successful writer turned hack finds his elusive muse drinking bourbon on his back porch. The muse is there to say goodbye (not yet published).
So what have I learned to this point?
The 52 week writing challenge is the motivator for me to develop the discipline to sit and write no matter how “good” or “bad” it is. I am a huge fan of The Writing Cooperative. I have read many pieces by other writers and offered feedback and encouragement to them. I also received valuable feedback and encouragement from several talented and knowledgeable writers.
So far I am finding the edge of my authentic voice. I still have a way to go to discover a deeper sense of what Anne Lamott calls truth wanting expression, but this is a process, not an event. And I love it! Of the things listed above, poetry, haiku, and short fiction drives me to the computer or notebook early in the morning.
Writing nonfiction has not been a pain in the rear, yet it at times it feels like work. The creative process takes various shapes with many facets. To grow in genuine expression remains the most important thing. I do this to go further in my connection with myself, and the human condition.
You cannot write out of someone else’s big dark place; you can only write out of your own. Anne Lamott
The Writing Cooperative focuses on nonfiction and that’s okay. I’m not sure how I’m growing from writing about emotional honesty, or the trauma of losing two friends in second grade. Those types of posts get me in the chair, yet when stats shows four recommends, and zero reads, I wonder if it’s like a tree in the forest when no one is around?
If no one read my post, did I write one? I’m close to feeling like I don’t care. I mean no disrespect in saying that. There’s freedom in knowing I have no control over reads and recommends. I get the most from feedback in the drafts channel. There I’m a sapling in a small backyard trying to grow each week. Once published onto Medium I’m a blade of grass bent sideways among scads of others. That’s okay. I’m a happy blade of grass.
I suppose I’m saying my goal is not to get double or triple digit recommends. Hundreds of followers sound cool, yet I don’t possess the energy or time to pursue what I’ve read others did to make that happen.
I want to continue to discover my voice as a writer. Writing poetry and fiction lead to the depth of my voice. Nonfiction takes me into areas I might never have considered writing about and broadens my voice, but without it scattering. I am committed to writing and posting on the 52-week challenge and that helps me with the discipline of honing my skills.
So answering my question if no one reads my post did I write it? The answer is an emphatic Yes! I do have a voice regardless of whether others hear and/or see it.