Beth Meadows

Vulnerability

Writing Fears Continued

Beth MeadowsComment

... Continued from the previous post...

6. I am most inspired by all of those psychology-ish & autobiographical writers and speakers out there: Brené Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert, Ann Lamott, Cheryl Strayed, Brennan Manning.

It's a common trend these days to talk about your story and apply it universally to help and assist a broad audience. And I do think these writers have profoundly helped others by telling their stories. 

I guess I wonder if I have anything new to add. I'm also overwhelmed by all the stories and ideas that are out there (I just recently started listening to Podcasts and the sea is OH SO vast!), that may be well known, that I'm not aware of yet, and I will just repeat things that have all ready been said.

This is an interesting fear that also affects other endeavors I have, but I can say, it does not really affect art-making.  When it comes to making art, I just do it. (That's a loaded statement I'd like to expound on later, but...) It's a beautiful thing, while writing feels like unchartered territory for me, and I am an amateur in very chartered territory. And I have to ask myself questions like, "Is chartered* even a word?"

7. When I make a painting, there is a sense of mystery to the deepest meaning that I do not readily share with others. It's not that I'm intentionally hiding something, but where I don't feel the need to divulge every detail of my artwork to others (because I'd like most to infer their own meaning) I'm not so sure I can be that vague with writing. Can I write about my experience or opinions and keep it universal and not so specific?

I wonder this because, while I've been writing my whole life, it has mostly been a practice just for me. I've kept a journal since I was very small (One that has a lock and key. Adorable). But many things happened over the past several months and one of those things was giving up that private practice of journaling. I still long to write though, but since it's no longer for myself, I'm feeling a bit lost. 

8. I don't have a uniform subject matter. Or really any definitive topic I want to discuss. I suppose, like my artwork and how I use social media, it will be about everything. Everyday I become curious about something new, and I think all the time, "If I went back to school, I would study this thing!" Those are the things I want to write about.

On this note- I know I have wild ADD. Not many interests stick. I wish there was grad school for curious people with ADD. I would study and learn everything I could about a different subject each week or month, however long it took until I was ready to move on. Oh my goodness! Heaven on earth! #businessidea

Well, I am sure there are more fears, but next I will share about why I want to write. 

*I discovered both words are used wrong, but I leave them here to bring the point home.

Write or Wrong

Beth Meadows1 Comment

 

Everyone has them: Stories and memories they fondly tell over and over again. I call these stories people's Glory Days.

It's funny the subjects that fall under my Glory Days category, the things I repetitively recount to friends, family, strangers, as I gaze off into the distance and sigh.

I don't have a lot of fun and wild stories from my past that are appropriate group banter, so many times my Glory Days have more to do with what I have accomplished. I know. Totally lame.

For example, something I bring up a lot is my stint as a writer for the (Award Winning!) Sunsphere is NOT a Wigshop blog. I wear that honor like a bejeweled crown.

I loved writing for that blog, a feeling which mostly had to do with my naivety about writing back then. I did not know what I was doing, and so the joy was great, (ignorance is truly bliss). I felt pretty uninhibited, which I didn't realize would be such a fleeting feeling for me. The fact that people were reading did not scare me away from writing.

But something changed in me once all the writers gradually faded out and the blog died its slow death. I had started my own blog so that I could expand the subjects I wrote about, but all of the sudden, I became stiflingly aware of the audience.

I am an open book by nature and can be pretty direct (direct: a nicer word for abrasive). I have also been on a mission to become a gentler and kinder person as I age. Mix this confusion with trying to better market and sell artwork and you get paralyzing fear. It's a hard line marketing yourself as an artist because who I am is tied to what I create so divorcing the two felt like I was doing myself a disservice. But I didn't know how to write without the fear that I would estrange so many from me.

I think part of my nervousness stemmed from being a wide-eyed observer on social media for so many years. If I've learned anything from Facebook, etc., it is that if you're honest, you will anger exactly 50% of all people. It's a scientific fact that I made up one day after years of observation. And I just didn't want to bring that negativity down on me, even if it meant that 50% of the people loved it. I couldn't do that at the time.

Riding the line of honesty and kindness has felt impossible to me for a long time. In a lot of my experience, if I'm honest I hurt people or open myself up to criticism. I have struggled with depression, self-loathing, anger, many things, and what I realize looking back is that I needed a time to hunker down, a time of self-protection, to figure out what was harmful in my life, to decrease those things, and increase any and all good. 

During this time of mental health hibernation, writing had no place, even though I longed to do it. And in this way and so many others, Adulthood has crushed my dreams. In its weird and mysterious way, too, however, Adulthood has knocked me down to build up something better within me. Wisdom and maturity will stop at nothing to well up in me. The more I blow them off, and I am so good at blowing them off, the harder they come down on me. They will not let me continue to live the way that I have lived, letting so many bad things into my life, being a fool. The hibernation phase was a lot of time embracing how I really felt about things (not hating myself for feeling something negative) while simultaneously licking my wounds. 

Today, the wound-licking is mostly over and I'm beginning to bare my scars with a little pride. I'm still a little shaky about it and don't feel completely ready to start writing again, but I've decided to take the leap anyway. I've grown impatient, and I know I have a harder head and heart (in a good way) to deal with the criticism, if and when it comes. 

So because I love a good list, I will name my fears in order to face them head on:

1. I'm afraid that my writing will decrease my audience as an artist. If people read what I'm thinking, many may discredit what I make, and that's scary because Art is an aspect of my livelihood. But it's also a dumb fear, and I'll tell you why through an example.

I love Justin Bieber, mostly because I love the music he makes. I also follow him on Instagram which I find wildly entertaining. Do I think he hung the moon? Do I think he is perfect? No, I do not. My love runs deep for him because I love the mixture in him of ridiculous fame and talent alongside the fact that he is very human, someone who makes mistakes, and is arrogant, and, I think genuinely, trying to do the best he can in this world.

And in this first point, I have all ready sent many people running for the hills. I will be disdained by those who cannot understand my affinity for JB, and I will have to live with that. I am not sorry.

2. My family/ friends of my past will read what I write and worry. Or wonder why I choose to put these things out there. It would be easier to think only strangers will choose to read out of enjoyment and not because of the worry I instill in them. Worry is a quality I accidentally instill in people that care for me. I can't exactly say why, but y'all, I am fine. I am better than fine. So I hope that people come to listen. You don't have to agree, just listen. If you want.

3. I will want to write about personal things or stories about people I know and will have to stop myself or censor myself. I've never understood how auto-biographical writers do this. It's really what I want to do, but how do you do it without potentially burning major bridges. How do you do it gracefully?

4. I will worry about who is reading and I will let that dictate what I write and fluctuate between self-loathing and arrogance, which is my MO. 

5. I will not be able to break away from my perfectionist tendencies. This post alone has taken a few hours because I edit and add and edit and add. I don't have that kind of time. How can I write better faster? Practice, I suppose.

Let the practicing begin.