Writing Is…

To write without thinking, without researching, without thought scattering across the page and looking back at those thoughts and crossing them out. As though I can never speak my mind, not even to myself.

I always think too much, over-analysing the little things while the big picture passes on by and yet to write without restraint and self-doubt is something I rarely do not do. I post subjects personal to me, and leave them on here, because I don’t doubt my feelings then.

There is just so much meticulousness in the act of blogging, I am often wary of writing on one. Everything you say, criticism or praise, gets judged by another – several others – who either differ in opinion, or are jealous, or are just that bored.

Blogging communities should communicate friendliness, that there is a support system there, should you need it. Blogging is about sharing something, good or bad, and having someone get something out of it when they read.

Blogging is and should never be about trolls. About people ganging up on a post, or a comment that someone once put when they were pissed off at the world or ill or just wanted to reach out. Blogging is and should never be about how many people follow you, or how many likes or comments you get on a post. It should never be about the ones who demand your writing, but the ones who appreciate it.

But often blogging is exactly this – demanding. Why haven’t you posted anything in a month? Why isn’t your writing exactly what I’m looking for? Why don’t I like you? You should make me like you. In one post I should get you, like you and feel like I know you.

Let’s get one thing cleared up – blogging isn’t the same as writing. It isn’t the same as sitting down in front of a blank document or notepad (or typewriter! I want to get one just to feel professional and cultured) – when I click “add new post” I immediately think about how to best approach my subject so that it will be interesting for other people. With blogging, you get instant publication and so it feels like when you hit “post” it is the same as writing a story and having it published in a bookstore when it isn’t. When you blog, and someone reads it, it might feel like someone is reading it and so they are liking what they read but this is not always the case. When you go into a shop and buy a book, there are usually several ways to determine if the book is for you – not actually, whether the writing is “good”:

  • What is on the cover – Yes there’s that old saying, don’t judge a book by its cover, but ultimately the cover of a book should reflect what is inside somewhat. You wouldn’t buy food if you knew what was on the packaging differed from what was inside it  – like ice cream in a pizza box – so similarly, if there is a book with a picture of a woman and man kissing passionately, I’ll probably stay away since it will most likely be a romance novel.
  • What the blurb says – There’s actually nothing more annoying than looking on the back of a book to read what it’s about and only being given several reviews and praises from influential people. I don’t care if The Daily Mail likes this book, I want to know if I will like it.

Yet when we search online for things, we will more often than not, first look to what people say about it. It’s a baffling habit the internet has made us succumb to – and while poor reviews can obviously help in a way, a one star review for a product because it “didn’t work for me” or “I didn’t like the colour” isn’t good enough. Whereas this statement “this optical mouse isn’t very good. There are not enough DPI settings on it and the batteries run out really quickly” tells me that the product is not long-lasting or user-specific, a statement such as “this optical mouse isn’t very good. The cursor is way too fast and also, it feels cheap” – a review based entirely on opinion, and just because you don’t like the product or you don’t understand its software or usability does not make it a terrible product – it just isn’t for you.

What I’m getting at with that is, people shouldn’t treat reading a blog or someones writing any differently to buying a product online. A blog post that has a hundred or so likes doesn’t mean you will like it; a blog post that is highly praised by something like Freshly Pressed doesn’t mean it’s actually good according to your tastes – writing is extremely subjective, and so to approach it as though you must like it because it is on the internet is ludicrous.

If you look on my about page comments *no longer exists – original said something like “your writing is atrocious and so are you – you will see what I mean. Perhaps because when I updated my about page I was in a silly mood, thus making me come across as a bit doo-lally, or perhaps because when I said I didn’t have a real name and said “I was born in a bin and my brother was a tin” made me seem like a raging rhyming lunatic, or perhaps because of some other issues this commenter has, they felt the need to not only find what I had written “atrocious” but also that they need to make me aware of their opinion.

There is no use to this kind of trollery. I don’t get easily affected by insults, not because I keep who I am and what I stand for close to my chest, or that I have no soul, but because I am one of the more complicated people out there. I don’t mean complicated as in I have a ton of unresolved issues, but that I’m not an easy person to understand, and that’s because I don’t play my cards all at once. I don’t allow myself to write too-personal things on the internet, and I learned at a very young age that once people know something about you, they could just as easily turn around and use that knowledge to hurt you. So stupid people use what little knowledge they have about me and use it to insult me.

I was a tall child in primary and high-school, so people called me lanky. I was skinny up until puberty, so people called me anorexic. I was shy up until the middle of high-school, so people called me quiet or boring. I have freckles, so people used that as an insult. I am pale, and often people over the internet use that as an insult (actually, I have ivory undertones in my skin, so when the flash on a camera in used, it makes me look paler than I am).

But what all these people, in my past, present and inevitably in my future, forget to realise is that these insults have never affected me. Telling me, as this commenter did, that my writing is bad isn’t going to make me curl up into a ball and cry until my eyes go red. It doesn’t make me angry, or make me doubt myself, because I know what kind of writer I am, and I know my writing doesn’t suit everyone – because writing is subjective – just like being called shy or lanky or ugly, doesn’t affect me because believe me, anything anyone has insulted me with, I have said worse things to myself. For whatever reason (probably because I am a woman with stupid hormones) I get attacks of self-esteem issues. But no-one will ever know what they are, because they aren’t anything to do with what others think are negative features about me.

I like my freckles and my 100+ moles I have around various places on my body (even one on the palm of my hand!). I like that I am tall. I like that I am an introvert (because trust me, when I don’t talk, that’s when I listen. And you’d be amazed at what people think they can get away with saying around someone who doesn’t talk a lot). The things I don’t like about myself don’t even matter, because I know I am not a deep-down horrible person. It doesn’t matter if you’re the best writer in the world, or the best at what you do if when you wind down at the end of a hard day you like to go on forums and act like an annoying twat.

What trolls tend to do is try to take what they know about a person and use that against them – which is usually not a lot, to be honest. This person doesn’t know a thing about me – nothing substantial anyway – and so they took the fact that I claim to be a writer and said that I was bad at it. As though that is my only skill, as though that is my livelihood. As though writing makes me who I am.

Writing is all of me and writing is none of me. I am a writer, but in the same way that I am a person and that doesn’t make me or my writing any less fallible or that I won’t come across people who just don’t like me.

Saying my writing is crap on my blog is like saying an interview with a brilliant director is crap, and so their entire work is terrible, too. Blogging is not my writing, it is blogging. I do it more often than proper story writing because it is easy and I like to do it, but if I wanted to publish a book, I wouldn’t publish posts from this blog and claim it to be real writing, because it isn’t. My posts are filled with my own thoughts, my own opinions, my own frustrations and passions. When I write, I am nowhere in the story, I leave the spaces open for ideas and characters and plotlines and I don’t want to ruin that with my own voice.

Even the one story I have published on here isn’t my best work, and I never will post my best work on here, because how do you measure writing?

All I know is I write on here without thinking too much about what it is I am really saying. I have a message and one way or another, I tell it. I never edit, I never delete posts, no matter how angry they seem.

But your words can’t and never will hurt me, because you don’t know me enough. Even if you knew everything about me – even if you knew the worst thing I’ve done, it wouldn’t make a difference.

Because I know who I am, and I accept who I am – even if sometimes, I don’t like myself very much.

I know what my weaknesses are, and I can tell you, writing is not one of them.

But what is writing, really?




One thought on “Writing Is…

  1. Pingback: Author and Icon | The Lefty Writes

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