each time i start writing in this journal again, i keep thinking that i have to erase and revise. i started writing on Medium and then telling myself that i couldn't do it if it was gonna expend so much mental energy, writing and rewriting words, trying to integrate tone and respect, trying to make my writing more clear for other readers. but then there's always that fine line between writing for yourself and writing for others, and although i tell myself that i'm writing for myself, i do get validated when people message me and say that they liked what i wrote. it makes me want to write more, but i get conflicted - i write best when i'm writing for myself, without all the nitpicking and erasure. but i want to write more when other people tell me they like what i wrote, and suddenly i'm in a deep rabbit hole of articles to improve my writing and getting attention for my writing. is it possible to do both? can i write what i just want to write without having to worry about whether i capitalize the proper letters? but then i will be told my writing is soft, boring, disengaging. even writing this now, with full acknowledgement my diary is public, it truly feels like i'm fronting the way i write to others. all the time. as soon as the words are typed out on the page, all of it feels like superficial trash.
i feel illiterate. not in the literal sense, like i can't understand reading. but perhaps i'm illiterate when it comes to emotional reading. emotionally illiterate. and maybe, just maybe, i'm too hard on myself for the way that i write. my writing is a reflection of the way i think, and i personally feel that my writing shouldn't have to be modified for accessibility. yet at the same time, i want a lot of people to understand what i'm writing, and i'm constantly racking my brain for more clear ways to explain my ideas. i want to know that my ideas have the power to reach the world. i think everyone wants to feel like they have that kind of power, even if it's just once. so of course we advance the vernacular, we make our language lofty, glimmering with finesse, with techniques akin to that of a famous public speaker. yet somehow i always lose myself in that process. i start to dread writing another journal entry, trying to balance professionalism with personality.
if you ask anyone on medium what the best advice for writing is, the answer is resounding and unanimous: just keep writing. keep writing even if you feel like you have writer's block. keep writing even if you have nothing to write about. keep writing just because it just is what it is. and while i can genuinely appreciate this line of thought, it sometimes still doesn't address the root of what kills our passion for writing. at least, what kills my passion for writing. we grow up thinking that we must carry these rules of writing so we can reach a bigger audience. but the most significant disillusionment with writing comes during the years where we are taught the fundamentals. we don't learn to love to write because we don't often write about topics we're passionate about. a lot of us can remember the bleary eyed days of sending in a ten-page essay a few seconds before the deadline. or maybe the mental image of the "passionate writer" brings up the old stereotype of the impoverished and out-of-touch scholar. maybe we've been taught that there's more to life than the dusty paperbacks sitting on the shelves. there are a million reasons why we keep away from writing, but the most important one is that what we write is not us. it's not who we are.
maybe it seems lackadaisical, but i can't stand "grammar nazis" and people who constantly try to correct someone else's language. it's one thing if the idea communicated doesn't seem clear, and maybe we ask for that clarification. but if the main idea has been communicated with genuine intent and emotion, what's the point of letting someone know that "to" needs another 'o'? my rebuttal: who fucking cares? when people speak to us, we are less inclined to correct the way they speak because we can hear the words they're saying, and we can understand the point they're trying to get across. perhaps all of these rules truly matter when we are learning another language, but language is always evolving so quickly, so much so that there are generational gaps. the language we learn today and what we communicate now may not even apply a hundred years from now.
i say, you should write to find you. that's where the passion comes from. figure out how much of that balance you want to put in your writing. do you want to be very accessible to your readers? do you want to just spit out whatever comes to mind and work out the details later? if you want to write for an audience, what is it that you want to shine through? authenticity? accessibility? both? write about that. write about your struggles with writing, and see where it takes you. maybe your community will help, or maybe it won't. either way, perhaps the diction and spelling of our language doesn't matter as much as the ideas that are being communicated.
that's just the truth.