Ever stumbled across something you did years ago and it somehow manages to change your complete outlook on life? Bit dramatic I suppose, but that’s how I felt when I found my old Tumblr page the other day (it’s hilar btw).
I was reading through a few of the older articles I’d written and realised that somewhere along the line, I’d lost my voice. I wrote about being pissed off at some guy taking a picture of my bum (yeah, this effing happened), and about how I was really confused at Vogue featuring a really young model dressed up to look about 18. It made me realise over the years I’d censored myself, and my words.
I was so caught up in what an article or a successful blog should look like that I wasn’t prepared to put out these opinion pieces anymore. I became a perfectionist. I censored by blog so that it all looked neat and professional. And it all made me think – this censorship, this need to be perfect and to have the sleek blog meant I’d cut off my creativity. No wonder I’ve been struggling with writer’s block – it was because I’ve shunned every creative idea I’ve had because it didn’t fit with what I thought a blog should be. I was afraid of failing and I was afraid my opinions wouldn’t be what people wanted to hear, so instead I just kept them to myself.
I was listening to a Ted Talk by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, the other day and she said exactly the same. She was so caught up with trying to write another success after Eat, Pray, Love that her writing ability basically shutdown. And she was only freed from that when she published the book after it, which flopped in comparison and she said she felt “bulletproof”. Emma Gannon talked about this in her podcast with Dave Booda (definitely worth a listen by the way).
I realised I’d put so my pressure on myself to perfect my articles, that I stopped experimented. I was so concerned with writing about what I thought everyone expected me to write about, that I’d stopped writing about what was truly in my heart, like why it pisses me off that people judge me because of strong valleys accent, and why it really gets to me when girls step over other girls to get somewhere (or someone).
You won’t believe the number of drafts I have on here, from why I think fitspiration can be seriously dangerous to women, to an incredibly personal article on my how I feel vulnerable because of my mental illness – something I’m still petrified I’ll get judged on despite writing about it very openly before on my Tumblr page.
Having this little revolution made me think quite a lot. It made me realise I need to write more. I need to write as much as I can and it really doesn’t matter if what I publish on here doesn’t fit in with what everyone else is doing, because that’s the beauty of a blog – it’s mine and I can use it to write about whatever I bloody well want. And I can swear if I want to aswell!
So from now on, I’m going to find that confident voice I once had and start bloody owning this blog. Start publishing those articles in my head – those raw pieces of creativity that I have floating around up there. Starting with this – it might not be perfect, I might be rambling, but at least I’m using my voice, and that feels pretty good.