It has taken me a long time to know that my writing is good. It may take you that long too — but I hope you ‘get it’ sooner than I did. You see, what you have within you is unique, and what you write comes from that place — if you allow your true voice to be heard. What do I mean by that?
I mean that you have experiences that are uniquely yours. And some of those are not pretty — you know what I mean, don’t you? Some of those may be how you grew up in a crazy household and you don’t want to be disloyal by writing about some of those times; how your mother criticized you daily; how your father abused you; how your older brother dumped you into furniture boxes then closed the lid, so you’re now claustrophobic. Or, maybe your family was so quiet, keeping secrets, and you were told to whisper; your mother couldn’t stand noise, so you were supposed to tiptoe around — so you hardly ever knew your own voice. You could only speak to your dolls, or your pet dog. So you grew up thinking there was something wrong with you. Thus, what would you ever say if you thought of writing? Would your words mean anything to anyone else? Could you learn to whisper onto the page, but never share it?
Well, there are others in this world who grew up like you, and they want to hear your words; read your words; know they are not alone. They are hungry to know that they are not wrong or crazy, or that they too have nothing to say. It is important that you speak out.
But you say, “I’m too old now. I don’t know if I can even remember some of my past. Oh yeah? It is seared into your brain cells. You may begin to fall into some of the ailments of “aging” like sore knees, insomnia, soreness throughout your body, etc. — so you spend most of your time complaining about these things, and hanging out with those who relate to those ailments. But is this how you really want to spend your time? Maybe you have to work at a boring job to make ends meet. Or maybe you’re a caregiver to an aging parent, or to a sick spouse. Or, you’re just too busy to create anything!
But there are still people who want to move forward in their lives. Find them. They may be younger. They may be the creative types. They may be the unusual ones, those who dress funny. Or, those who are quiet and reserved. But when you befriend then, you discover they are interesting and have amazing stories from their past. These people are curious about life and want to explore it and live it well. These people will help keep you young. They have intriguing ideas and want good discussions. Find them. Let these amazing beings become part of your tribe. Do be careful who you hang out with.
If you come away from a coffee with a someone feeling you’ve never been heard, or feeling emptier than you were before, then pay attention to these feelings. An important thing to remember is that every person has a need to be seen and to be heard. You too. If you’re not being seen or heard then do something about that.
You need to start SEEING yourself. Who are you really? Oh you have always thought you could write a book about some of the challenges and exciting experiences in your life — but there are so many excuses why you have never done so? Well, venture into doing that. Just put your pen on the pages or your fingers on your computer and allow your mind to wander.
Allow your imagination to flow. Ask yourself questions such as: What if a famous author asked you to write a chapter of a book, what would you write? What if you had all the confidence in the world and wanted to share how you got it? What if a being from space flew in through your open window and began telling you things you’d never heard before — and you listened in ways you hadn’t for a long time? What would that being want you to share with others? Keep asking that question: WHAT IF? It will lead you into stories you never thought you could share. It will lead you into characters you always wanted to meet — and you will start to write about them.
No matter how old you are, no matter what your challenges are, no matter how you’ve been whispering all your life, pretending you don’t have a voice, no matter what… YOU STILL CAN.
You still can create a story. You still can write your own story. You still can express those secrets you’ve held onto for years. You still can listen to your own voice and learn to trust it. Despite your self-doubts you still can write. You are unique. You have important things to teach others and you still can. You have gifts to give to us and you still can. You are a person of worth and you deserve to express yourself. It is time now. You still can. We readers want to read you.
Melba Burns, (c) August 19, 2019