I started writing my first “book” when I was 14. I was in boarding school in India and it was a 10-day break between 8th and 9th grade. International flights were expensive and I was among the few who didn’t go home. I chose to start writing a piece of fiction on boarding school life inspired by my own journey. A few days into the break, my wonderful grandpa flew in with my sister and cousin and we went on an epic adventure!
The pages of my book gathered dust over the years.
As much as I LOVED to write, somewhere I also internalized the message that when you are good at math and science, that’s where you put more of your energy. My heart feels deeply sad as I type this. I wrote a fair bit during my childhood but never really understood or truly appreciated this love of mine until much later in life.
In my first job, I had a manager often provide very critical feedback on my writing skills, especially as a non-native English speaker. I internalized those messages so deeply and convinced myself I didn’t know how to write and would kill any ideas of writing and sharing my work more broadly. My point in sharing this story is in taking responsibility that yes, while the feedback could have been delivered more thoughtfully, I too didn’t have the tools to work with that voice as effectively as I do today.
My inner critic kept me small with voices such as – you don’t know how to write well, your grammar isn’t perfect, you don’t have anything new to say; simply put – why bother and I am sad to say for many, many years I listened to that voice and played small until I didn’t.
And it was in the third trimester of my first pregnancy when I made a commitment I was going to write – not for anyone else but to honor my calling to write and model that for my child and my blog was born.
And for the last 8 years I have written on my own blog and for other publications – sometimes at 5:30 am on a Saturday morning, sometimes at a coffee shop while the kids play legos; sometimes on vacation while the rest of the crew is asleep and sometimes in my journal while waiting at a doctor’s appointment.
Words have given me comfort on a hard day. They have given me power when I have felt small. They have reminded me to stay humble and surrender to the fact that I have little control over the meaning readers make of my words. They have provided me connection when I have felt alone. They have helped me make sense of my world and my place in it. They have helped me find closure when I have needed one.
My life is so much richer because of the way my words have shaped it and I am incredibly grateful for this beautiful gift.
As I enter a new phase in my life and career, I hope to write more bravely.
My wish for you is to take a pause for a moment and reflect on what your heart may long for to bring forth in the world. I hope you can give that longing a few extra minutes in the coming week to breathe, to tell you what it wants, and spend some time playing and creating with it!
Pic Credit: Thought Catalog