You know how it is. There’s this incredible idea (at least to you) germinating somewhere deep within and you can’t wait to put it down, write it up on the blog, publish it, send it to be seen by an editor- something, anything that tells you that the story deserves to be seen, read or heard.
Attachment to your writing is probably inevitable. After all, it’s part of you and the way you think, feel and breathe, most of the time. But in the age of social media and instant gratification, are we too attached to what we write?
Think about it. Are you ever completely, absolutely detached from the outcome of your writing? Have you honestly sent something off to be published or pitched a piece or an article to a magazine and thought, ‘Hey, it’s cool if I never hear from them?’
Remember my #NaNoWriMo experience or rather the aftermath? So it’s been 7 months since that and yes, although I’ve had many excuses (valid ones) for not finishing the work just yet, I also feel there’s something bigger at play here: I am too attached to the work.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s a memoir. Personal stories are among the hardest to write, in my opinion, since you need to sift through the facts and make sure you’re not mixing fiction in there somewhere. (For someone who also dabbles in fiction, trust me, it’s a tricky slope!)
One of the best books I have read on the writing process is Natalie Goldberg’s Writing down the bones (A book I highly recommend if you believe that writing is a Zen process) and one of my favourite quotes from that book is this one:
“Write, read,write, read. You become less attached to whether it is good or bad. ‘I wrote this now I’ll read it, no big deal.’
I think one of the first steps to practising detachment from your work in the current time is to disconnect yourself from the regularity of social media laurels. I admit it feels great, even wonderful, to be appreciated for your writing. Watching stats climb on the blog or notifications ping with comments gives a high unlike any other. Saying otherwise would make me a hypocrite.
But it’s equally important for me to start writing blog posts, ideas, the memoir without being that attached to how any of it will be received. Perhaps it’s time to write the way we should- for the love of writing.
The absolute, crushing truth is this: Not everyone will like what you write. Some of those reasons will be critical but most of them will be personal. It’s time we learn to accept that and release our work into the world.
And who knows? Sometimes, just maybe, it will strike more chords than you anticipate and the more unexpected the rewards, the sweeter they can be.