I have been writing for several years, usually just for myself. In my old leftover reporter top-spiral notebooks or in fancy journals I’d find in the bookstore; in the margins of meeting agendas; on napkins and on coffee-stained flyers flipped over and covered with my frantic scribbling – that actually happened once, when I was sitting in a coffee shop. I had just had one of those oh-my-god experiences when I desperately needed to just GET IT OUT. I borrowed someone’s pen and pulled a local band’s flyer down off the wall, flipped it over, and poured out my day and my emotions onto that glossy white canvas. Once it was out, I felt better. Lighter. I didn’t need it anymore, so I hung it back up on the wall. I didn’t want to take away from the band’s promo!
(I wonder if anyone ever read it?)
Do things change when other people actually read what you write? You bet they do – at least, they did for me. A couple of years ago I started blogging semi-privately – as in, only a handful of people knew my blog address and I never signed my name to any of the posts. I tried to speak as honestly as I could, but most of the time I found myself second-guessing (and ultimately deleting) the really raw, unfiltered parts. Is this too much? Am I going to scare someone away if they know this thing about me? It is going to make people worry about me? Does this post seem like some sort of passive, dramatic cry for attention? The doubts were endless, and it made writing difficult and annoying, so I stopped for a while. When I started writing again, I set the blog to private so I wouldn’t have to worry about softening the difficult parts, and this felt better – it was real again.
But I quickly realized how much I missed my readers. It didn’t matter that there were only a few of them, and it didn’t matter how often they actually read what I wrote. I just missed knowing that my words were actually reaching other people. That they could resonate. Help. Heal. Connect. And I learned something about myself that I hadn’t realized before – that I am eager to share my thoughts and my stories with other people who want to listen. I want to start the conversations we’re not having and make real connections with my words. I am passionate about doing so.
So, I am a writer who wants to be read. Just as I am, unashamed, with my real name signed at the bottom.
My name is Jennifer Brennan and this is my blog. Welcome!