By Lee Sullivan
Random Writers Topic: Write about overcoming adversity?
I’m in the middle of one of the worst adversarial periods I can remember going through in a really long time. I think it’s for this reason that I’ve been sitting here for hours staring at this blank white page on my laptop. I want to write about overcoming adversity, but right now, adversity is kicking my ass. I’m just not really feeling it and I am completely stressing about the fact that I have this blog post due for Random Writers. Of course, the more I stress about it, the less likely the words will come.
What did I just say?
“I am completely stressing about the fact that I have this blog post due for Random Writers.”
Wow, if someone had told me 13 months ago that in a year, I would be stressing about having to produce a blog post- on a schedule- I would have completely dismissed them as insane.
I have to admit that I have not gone through my life wanting to write. It has NEVER been a dream of mine. As a matter of fact, when I’m given any kind of assignment to produce the written word, I freak out inside. I can’t even write a note in a birthday card without breaking out in a cold sweat. If I’m asked to provide a blurb for a brochure or piece of publically shared material, I’m paralyzed. Even producing a simple tweet or FB status where I want to provide content to others causes extreme anxiety from the fear that I’ll make a mistake in grammar or spelling.
You see, I’m a self proclaimed spelling nazi and grammar queen wannabe. There is something in my brain that completely short circuits when I see the word your where you’re should be used, their instead of there, and than in place of then, just to name a few. I literally cringe when I see blatant misspellings that could have easily been corrected with a click of the spell check feature in most word processing and email software. I can hold my own with written grammar (even though my spoken words often betray me (thank you to the Alabama public school system), but I do freely acknowledge that I often have to research the rules to determine the right way to write (see how I used right and write correctly there?). Let’s just say that GrammarGirl is my best friend.
I’ve been a blog reader for years now, but something happened about a year and a half ago. I started to notice that there are some great bloggers out there who provide beautiful and important content, and they have the occasional typo and misplaced comma. There are others who seem to write only in run-on sentences, and still others that appear to just make up the rules of grammar as they go. I began to notice that I didn’t care. At first these errors were terribly distracting to me, but once I looked past the letters and punctuation and started looking at the message instead, I began to ‘get it’.
A light turned on for me and I realized that not everyone out there cares how the information is presented – just that it is. I started to realize that I was letting my fear of making a mistake, and being judged by that mistake, keep me from doing something I felt a strong urge to do.
For months I had been daydreaming about starting a blog. I had things floating around in my head and thought that if I could just get them out, I would feel better. I imagined using words as a form of therapy to deal with memories from my past, celebrate my present, and even as a form of accountability for my future dreams. I allowed a fantasy to evolve that by writing about my wrong choices, maybe others would make a right choice. I simply wanted to share what life had taught me.
My experiences with my blog have been incredible. I’ve received so much feedback and love from you guys that my heart has been full with joy. I’ve made discoveries about myself that I never saw coming and feel that even my relationship with Gil has grown tremendously because of this blogging thing.
I look back at how those negative thoughts of fear and self-doubt almost kept me from doing something that has become a way of life for me now. Everyday I force myself to stop, think and create something – whether it’s 1000 words or a photo that needs no words – I’m forcing my brain into action and I’m telling a story. And it feels so good. Even when my paragraph structure makes no sense and I scatter random commas in all the wrong places, it still feels good.
This is exactly why Random Writers was born. Gil has always said that anyone can write. I have always argued that his statement is true, but not everyone can write well, and this holds people back. It did for me. We wanted to provide a place for ANYONE to share their thoughts, dreams, fears and wishes and not feel that perfection was a requirement. We hope to give a safe haven to those who have stories to tell but no place to tell them without fear of being judged or ridiculed. I wanted to provide an outlet for others who, like me, have allowed fear to hold them back.
Do you have a story to tell? Are you afraid your words aren’t good enough and in the right order? Then come join me and my friends at Random Writers and let’s make fear our bitch.