The other day I was asked "what would life be like if you never wrote again?"
I previously shared how in 4th grade my teacher didn't believe I wrote a short story about a Native American girl on Long Island (by the way, this is the same teacher that said "I read too much"). For a long time after that incident, I didn't write for pleasure; I wrote to fulfill school assignments. That was the first time I dimmed my light because of what someone told me. It took decades until I felt comfortable writing creatively again.
10 years ago, I was feeling overwhelmed and I wrote a poem. That one poem turned into a bunch of poems. For whatever reason, I decided to try out blogging and I put those poems online. At first, I wrote anonymously. I told a few friends about the website and I shared stories. I was scared at first to share my thoughts publicly, but I felt lighter. The more I wrote, the calmer I felt. Then I started to write under my real name. The more I wrote, the more unbound I felt. I felt like something was releasing from me. Maybe stress. Maybe sorrow. Maybe my true opinions. It felt natural to share my thoughts. I felt free.
I'm most free when I am writing. A lot of times people ask me who is my blog audience. I shrug and say 'I don't know'. They ask me what is my blog about? I shrug and say, 'I don't know'. Eventually, I started saying my blog was about transformation and growth. Honestly, I don't write for anyone. I don't have a target market. I don’t have an editorial calendar (yet). I don’t brand for social media.
I write for myself. I write to myself. If people are learning and engaging along the way; cool. But I'm not writing for them.
I don't have a niche, because I don't write in a focused way. I write like I'm walking on a dark path with a flashlight and I only can see a few feet ahead. The destination is a surprise when I get there. That's my writing. I write what I feel like in the moment and that could change. I wrote a draft of this newsletter three weeks ago and it was about compassion. It’s now August 31st and I decided not to share that original draft. Because as I was walking along the path, the destination turned out to be freedom, not compassion.
We all need a place where we are free; where we can express ourselves and do things the way we want to. Maybe for you, that's in your artwork, or singing in the shower, or taking long road trips, or reading your child a bedtime story. Find a place where you are in flow. There is something beautiful in being able to do things the way you want to. I hope you are doing something today that makes you feel free. Me, I'm free when I'm writing.
So, what would life be like if I never wrote again? It would feel like my heart was attacked, my chest tightened, my oxygen supply reduced, and my brain overflowed.
Where and when are you most free? What would you feel like if that was taken away?