10 Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing About My Feelings On The Internet

Writing

By Jillian Stacia

Exactly one year ago, I started writing about my feelings on the internet. And it’s been one of the best, hardest, weirdest, most rewarding things I’ve ever done. Pursuing your passion is always an intense process. But to do so on the internet, in front of- quite literally- millions of people, has been one of the bravest things I’ve ever done.

And I’ve learned a lot along the way. I’ve learned so much about myself, about writing, and about what it takes to go after your dreams. To help me reflect on my journey, here are some of the top lessons I’ve learned since hitting “send” on that very first submission:

1. Vulnerability hangovers are a real thing: Here’s the truth: writing about yourself on the internet is bizarre. It makes zero sense. It is a stupid and irrational thing to do. You can feel self-absorbed and self-centered and a little bit like you are standing in the middle of the street with no clothes on. Good writing means getting vulnerable and finding the courage to speak your truth. This is hard and emotionally draining, but it is so, so worth it. If you love this work- if there is a little voice inside you telling you to write- honor that instinct. You will not regret it. But give yourself grace. Allow yourself time and space to process and reflect, because this is not an easy thing you are doing. It is the right thing, but it’s not an easy thing.

2. It is not the critic who counts: There’s always going to be people who critique your work. That’s part of the shit sandwich that comes with being a writer. Not everyone is going to like you. Keep going. Learn to take constructive criticism and move forward. As for the rest of the haters? Ignore them. It is not the critic who counts.

3. You have no control: When you publish a piece, it no longer belongs to you. How something is received is none of your business. Your business is creating. Your work is the writing. Let go of the outcome and get comfortable with having no control. Writing is an exercise in surrender.

4. Support other writers: I’m constantly surprised by how willing writers are to support each other, particularly women. I’ve reached out to several writers I admire, and almost all of them have been willing to speak with me and support me along the way. I hate the idea of networking, but women writers make it easy. They have proven to me time and time again that there is room at the top for all of us. Do the same. Share others work. Give constructive feedback. Make connections. We’re all in this together.

5. Writing is more about discipline than creativity: You could have the best idea in the world and it doesn’t mean anything unless you put it down on paper. Your creative genius doesn’t amount to shit if you are not disciplined. Put your ass in the chair and do the work. If you have been gifted with creativity, it is your obligation to do something with it. If you have an idea, you owe it to the universe to bring it into this world. Disrespect your creativity and it will find another steward.

6. The thing you don’t want to write about is the thing you need to write about: My most successful pieces are the ones that are the hardest to write. They are the ones that put up the biggest fight, that bring about the most resistance. They make me feel vulnerable and uncomfortable and cause me to wonder what the hell I’m doing. And yet, they are always, always the pieces that connect the most with people. I believe it is because people appreciate our struggle. They relate to pain. Authenticity and vulnerability are so rare these days that when you find it, you soak it in the best you can. Be that. Be brave enough to provide that. Let yourself be seen.

7. Let your ideas bake: I’m big on discipline, but it took me awhile to realize that mulling things over is a critical part of the creative process. Ideas are like seeds. They take a while to sprout roots and take shape. Don’t rush the process. Listen to your gut. You’ll know when something is ready to be discussed.

8. You are a compost pile: Everything you see is material. Every conversation you have, every book you read, every song you hear. You are always gathering content, most of the time without your knowledge. Collect everything. Be open to everything. And don’t worry about “stealing” ideas or not being original. There are no original ideas anymore. There are only original ways to discuss universal themes. Give credit where credit is due, but feel free to expand or debate ideas that have already been introduced.

9. Remember that you are only the instrument: I’ll leave this one to Flannery O’Connor: “Don’t ever let me think, Dear God, that I was anything but the instrument for Your story- just like the typewriter was mine.”

10. Honor your gift: This thing that you’re doing? This writing ability? Not everyone has it. Be grateful that you get to do this work. Be brave enough to continue to pursue it. Honor your gift by showing up. Never forget how lucky you are.


Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click HERE.

{featured image via pexels}

12 thoughts on “10 Things I’ve Learned Since I Started Writing About My Feelings On The Internet

  1. ongypsiemountain says:

    This is great! Blogging is a really strange thing, especially when it’s very personal! I’ve found my confidence has grown quite a bit over the time I’ve been doing it and it’s crazy how putting stuff out there for heaven knows who to read is incredibly therapeutic! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sweetsnsnarks by LeAnn says:

    I know so many of us can relate. Writing is a lot about discipline, but I have always been one to need to mull it over before I write. Also, putting your emotions out there on the internet is equally scary and cathartic. Congratulations on your 1 year anni!

    Like

  3. Ms Mollah says:

    Number 6 is what I resonate with most! Any time I refuse to be vulnerable or try to edit the vulnerability, the piece just dies! Thanks for the reminder. Beautifully written.

    Like

  4. Hilary Tan says:

    I stumbled upon your post and you really spoke to me. Over the last few days I have been pondering whether to start blogging and since writing has never been my strength, I hesitated for a long time. I made the decision that instead of writing on forums, in messenger etc. vomiting my problems to my friends and family that I would blog. I need to get my thoughts onto paper or it will be a constant reel playing in my head 24/7. Hopefully one day I can inspire others like you do.

    Like

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