I Write For Myself

by Ashlynmathews on January 21, 2013

I write for myselfAmidst the criticism and positive reviews, a whisper of doubt echoes in my mind. Amongst the words and flow of thoughts and emotions —tap, tap, tap —on my keyboard, the voice of doubt grows.

The voice screams, screeches, and rips at my heart and soul until realization hits me. Silence.

I write for myself and my characters. I know them from birth and understand what makes them happy, what breaks their hearts, and what they want most —acceptance, compassion, laughter, love, a life lived to the fullest.

They’re perfectly flawed. They materialize onto the pages from my imperfections, my experiences, what I have been and what I might want to be. Though not always.

I write for myself and my characters. The voice of doubt echoes in my mind, screams and screeches, but amongst the criticism and positive reviews, the words and flows of thoughts and emotions, I realize . . . I’m imperfect. My voice might not soothe you. My emotions and thoughts might not move you. But if I write for everyone, I’ll write for no one.

Acceptance, compassion, laughter and love I already have. I strive to live life to the fullest. Perfection? Definitely far from it. I write for myself.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Maggie Jaimeson January 21, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Interesting post, Ashlyn. I guess I write for myself, in that I write to give myself a voice in a larger world. I am compelled -to share the stories, the tragedy, the triumph of characters in my mind. However, if readers did not pick up my books then I would be very dissatisfied. In that way, I write for others. If I wrote only for myself, I would never seek publication. I would be happy to just have completed the story.

For me, I must publish. I must share. Though I don’t expect everyone to like what I write, I do hope that it speaks to some people in the same way it speaks to me. If it does, then I feel my voice is heard and I am satisfied for that moment. I am never perfect. I can always do better. Whenever someone asks, which book is your best, my answer is always the same “The last one.” That’s because I know I get better as a writer with each book.

I write for myself, but my happiness is reinforced by others sharing in the stories too.

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Ashlynmathews January 22, 2013 at 9:23 am

I agree Maggie. I want to share and publish. And of course, I want readers to like my stories. However, I can’t write to please everyone is what I was trying to convey. If I tried to be everything to everyone, I don’t think I can free my inner muse enough to write without a complex, if that makes sense, lol. But yes, we want our voice heard even if it’s only to a small crowd. But in the beginning, when I start a story, I only want my voice and my characters’ to guide me to the wonderful but sad, “The end.” Lately, doubt has messed with my muse and that’s never healthy, encouraging or helpfu. This poem was my way to voice my inner muse’s frustration :).

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Mary Merrell January 22, 2013 at 6:57 am

Hi Ashlyn and Maggie,

I agree with you both. Ashlyn, I saw your post in my emails. I don’t check every update I get, but this one intrigued me. I agree. I have to write the stories in my head, give voices to the characters in my mind. It doesn’t matter if anyone else likes them or not, although as Maggie said, if no one liked them, I would be incredibly disappointed. What does that mean? Like Maggie, I am compelled to share the stories. Getting approval from others is what…approval of our selves? That’s a little frightening. But like Stephen King said, “You must write honestly.” So, I will keep writing what’s in my head, and ignoring those screeching voices of doubt telling me it’s no good. They’re just jealous we’re brave enough to put ourselves out there. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. Geez, always have to throw in a cliche : )

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Ashlynmathews January 22, 2013 at 9:32 am

I do wonder what it means when we write for ourself yet we want others’ approval? Acceptance? A pat on the back? I think we just want affirmation that our voice was heard, like what Maggie mentions. Some people might not like what we’ve written but acknowledge the dislike with constructive criticism and not harsh disregard would be my comment to critics :). Thank you for commenting!

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Liv Rancourt January 23, 2013 at 4:59 am

“But if I write for everyone, I’ll write for no one.”
Now that’s the rub, isn’t it? On the one hand, I write for myself in that the stories come out the way they come out, warts and all. On the other hand, if I wrote SOLELY for myself, I sure as heck wouldn’t bother editing. I hope people are entertained by what I write, and that desire influences the shape of my stories (and the grammar!) to a certain extent. The greater desire, however, is to share my world view with others, to make them think a little, and that won’t happen unless I’m true to myself.
…and I probably just rehashed what your other commenters said, Ashlyn, but I did it MY way! 😉

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Sharon Clare January 23, 2013 at 7:37 am

Beautifully said, Ashlyn! I wonder if there is an end to self-doubt, or if we’ll need constant reminders that the books we write will never appeal to everyone. We do the best job we can for where we’re at in the moment. Thanks for that reminder.

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