The first thing I’d suggest – is never look back at years of your own failures to learn how to do shit better, not because it doesn’t work, but because it’ll drive you crazy.

Each and every one of us who claims that we want to be writers, never ever, stop to think about what that means, and this is the part where it gets weird…because we don’t we spend an abnormal time complaining about how hard it is to be a writer.

“Write what should not be forgotten.”― Isabel Allende

I spent years telling myself I couldn’t do it, that I couldn’t be who “I” wanted to be, because I was so busy being everyone else’s idea of who I should be, but now I’m still that person, but the difference is that the person that I am now is aware of all the lengths the people in my life went to mould me into what I inevitably became. And now they are the ones complaining.

I’m still the person that sees the world through my eyes, in ways no one else in the world could have ever thought possible, and whenever they say “that’s weird,” I say yeah, but I’m a fucking writer…when did we ever claim to be normal?

JD Robb has made an empire out of making her own dreams come true, from the town she lives into the hundreds of towns she’s written about, she manifested her own bookstore, she re-wrote the same story about child sexual abuse, and isolation, depression, abuse and anxiety, a million times in so many different ways that women all over the globe can relate. And now many of them are following in her footsteps telling their own stories.

Stephen King has re-written death a thousand times, and he’s done so in so many creepy and beautiful ways that the only people who can tell a story as well as he can, are the people who are interested in showing him what they’ve learned, from him, writing is fucking weird.

We say that we want to write for ourselves, but we don’t, we want to write for those who came before us, so that by validating what they taught us – through their validation of our work – we can find ourselves somehow worthy of existing on the same planet as them.

Writers have a nasty habit of silently without actually ever admitting it, treating everyone that came before like a God or Goddess, as if their word is cannon to the existence of our place on this planet, and that’s just not the truth.

What Are Writers Supposed To Be Doing?

We’re supposed to be writing. Period. Every day all day, until we say all the things that we need to say, exactly as we need to say them.

For some people, it’s laughter, for others it’s fear or romance, and for me, it’s talking about all things. I don’t use metaphors like vampires or demons but I don’t have to, rapists and abusers work just as well when it comes to describing it.

That should be scary enough, but some of us are constantly trying to push the envelope, constantly trying to move past what scares us, into “whatever next,” as if to prove that by surviving this battle, and then that one and that one and so on and so on, we then deserve to be here.

I Have A Secret For You

Every single person on the planet is silently suffering from crippling anxiety, they just handle it differently. From the wealthiest person on the planet to the poorest, it’s always about begging for validation. The cars that we buy, the clothes we wear, and the things that we post online, it’s all about NEEDING to be told that we are worthy because we’ve forgotten how to remember to remember that we don’t need to be validated.

Yes, it’s true, we’re supposed to remain humble, and we’re not supposed to care what other people feel about our work, but it’s not always just about validation – sometimes it’s our way of saying “am I on the right track here?” and when people like, respect, or lift up our work, it lets us know that we’re on the path that we’re certain that we want to be on, and that can erase a lot of questions, that fuel a lot of anxiety that we don’t need to hang on to anymore.

Checking In With Yourself Is The Best Way To Know If Your Writing and therefore Your Life Is On The Plane You Want to Be On

Make a list. Ask yourself:

  • Where are you?
  • Where do you want to be?
  • What steps do you need to get there?
  • What can you feasibly accomplish in the rest of this year?
  • What will have to wait?
  • Can you fit in some time to relax?

These are the only questions you need to ask yourself, and yes it can sound a lot like assimilating, in some cases, but in those cases you still have power – it’s that “I’m not in control of my own life,” bullshit that trauma teaches us, that convinces us that we don’t have the power or energy to find ways to be happy.

There are lots of people who are surprised that I am not interested in being someone who works at impressing them, but that’s because of the impressive shit I did. Happened when I was a child.

It was a surprise to me too, to find out that I’m majickal, but when I found out I was 3, so I mean I’ve had years to get used to it, you’re only surprised because you didn’t know, but now you do, so what are you going to do about it?

And when I say “now you know,” I’m not talking about how you know I’m amazing, I’m asking you, do you know how amazing YOU are? The person reading this, the person who thinks that their work doesn’t matter?

The person that thinks that what they are doing amounts to being on a travelling clown show, your life matters, because you give me space to exist outside of trauma. And you don’t even know me.

I wonder about you too, and if you’re okay and where you’re from, and the stats only tell me so much, but when I’m writing these days, it’s nice to know that it doesn’t always have to be my story that I’m telling, even when I’m the one signing these essays, and even though I’m the one writing them, it’s not always my story.

When we’re writing, whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, ask yourself that question first.

Who Are You Writing For?

Sending all my love,

Devon J Hall

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