A reminder that stories matter

With Little O napping, a cup of tea at my side, and a deluge of sun at my window, I find myself with a few moments to sit here with words. Usually, I’d use the time to work on my novel or plug away at essays and articles I try to pitch for publication or for the rare freelance work or to find some work or any work or more work but there’s an exhaustion that comes with spending every spare minute working toward something, instead of just being with the time we have.

These past few months, I’ve written a lot of blog posts and emails in my head. Some, I’ve even sat down and started, then deleted before pressing publish or send. There are a lot of days when I just don’t feel confident in my words, even in a silly email to a friend. Most days, I don’t want to share anything I write at all.

I’ve been journaling. On the computer. In secret. Paper journals have never quite worked for me. There’s something about paper and pen that feels very permanent. Unforgivable. The typed word feels transient, fleeting and, therefore, comfortable. There are some ideas and thoughts that don’t need to be etched in the stones of history.

Journaling has helped me remember and understand what I think and care about. It’s helped me find a lot of joy in sitting down to think, which, for me, is a bit more active, since writing is how I think my everything.

Irony of all ironies, the secret journaling has helped me understand that sharing some of the work is important to me. I’ve spent my entire life engaged in the stories of others, entangled in a rich dialogue with writers I’ve never talked to or met, and I’d like some of my words to get tied up in the same imaginary dialogue someday.

Once I was asked for writing advice, or maybe I was asked in my head, that’s definitely possible since I don’t engage in much real conversation anymore, but I thought the best advice I could give was to always remember that stories matter and that the work is important.

For the past few months, in the imaginary lines of an online journal, in the actual words, and real thoughts, I’ve questioned validity.  I’ve thought about writers and writing and the way our world sees the profession. I’ve wondered if the work still matters if it isn’t shared or seen. I’ve wondered when it is seen, if becomes more or less valid. Or if, all of it, is part of a disappearing act. I’ve questioned the importance, the mattering of writing at all.

I guess I discovered, in secret, what I already knew. It is important. It does matter. Seen or unseen. Secret or exposed. It’s all part of a rich dialogue, some of it imagined, some of it real. So I’m here to remind myself, novice nobody writer that I am, that it is and it does.

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6 thoughts on “A reminder that stories matter

  1. I've been thinking this same thing for the past few weeks–because I often write posts that are never posted, but I still needed to write. And just so you know, your blog is the one I come back to time and again, and feel motivated to become comfortable with my own voice in writing.

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  2. How fascinating to read your journaling process. We are complete opposites! Words on paper I can crumple up and throw away. I have tossed entire notebooks. Words stored as pixels, I'm never sure about … I'm terrified to type some things on the computer. But stories matter and they make a difference. Yours on this blog have to me. Keep writing.

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  3. Your blog always inspires me, Melissa, so I really hope you keep posting, but I see the wisdom of keeping some writing to ourselves. I've also journaled more recently than I have in the past, and those pieces will never be shared. Yes, it still matters. It's still writing. It's still working on your craft.

    For what it's worth, you don't seem like a novice to me.

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  4. It's interesting how I go through times when words bubble to the surface and when they are more difficult to access. I think what makes it matter is the draw – that magical, mysterious thing that keeps pulling us back.

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