“What gives one the right to write?”
“Well, is there something that will go unsaid if you don’t write?”
“Well, then, you simply must write.”
You simply must write. Because something will go unsaid if you don’t. This is a mantra that I am going to start repeating to myself. For some reason, as writers, we don’t always believe that we should write. We don’t believe we have the right to write. We don’t think we have permission.
The above is a conversation Karen E. Peterson experienced (author of Write. `10 Days to Overcome Writer’s Block. Period.) in which she finally felt like she was given permission to write.
As writers, we want to write. But, we often pause at our computers or pads of paper, unsure of whether we SHOULD write. I basically feel like this, oh…all the time.
Does this sound familiar?
And then….screeching brakes.
My mind starts to wander, to ponder. To analyze. Why am I writing this? Certainly it’s been said. Someone else has probably already had this experience and put it to paper. So, what’s the point?
But, in what other profession do people look at what they are doing and say they can no longer proceed because it’s already been done? Doctors certainly don’t, and thank goodness for that. Because each doctor adds something to the profession that someone before them would not have been able to add.
The same is true with writing.
Yes, maybe someone like me had a similar experience, but, they aren’t me. And I experienced that moment differently than anyone before me. I thought different things, I had different fears, I approached it with different experiences behind me. Just as no two people ever read the same book the same way, no two people ever experience the same moment in the same way.
Writing fiction? Same thing. There may only be a handful of stories out there, but everyone tells them differently because everyone is different. This may seem like a simple concept, but writers have a hard time with it. And, if it’s not grasped, it can cripple.
It’s up to each writer to decide if they can push past self-doubt and fear in order to say the thing that might go unsaid. And, to decide if that thing is worth is saying. Spoiler: It is.
I confess, I am currently letting fear stop me. I’ve got a story inside me. One I’ve had inside of me my whole life, because it is my life. And that, the thought of putting my experiences out there for the world to see, that’s terrifying. But, if I don’t say it, who will? No one has had my experience. If I don’t say it, there are definitely things that will go unsaid. Even now, as I type this, there’s a little voice in the back of my head whispering evilly, “But is it really worth saying? Who cares if it doesn’t get said?”
And to that I reply, “I care, dammit. I care.”
And for now, that has to be enough. I am giving myself permission to write. To say what would otherwise go unsaid. And, I give you permission, if you still need it. Go forth, write words. Write YOUR words. Because if you don’t, no one else will.