A letter to myself — a reminder of why I write.
I've been writing for quite a while now, since grade school one might say, because my mother claims I wrote my first poem at 6. She kept copies of the poem apparently and showed it off to the neighborhood.
I vaguely recall the details; but the thought of having other people read my work, and by extension, take a look into my soul was a very uncomfortable feeling.
Though I continued to write many things over the years, I have been very selective about what I choose to put out there for people to see.
Last year I decided to work consciously toward building my own personal brand as I was also afflicted with what can only be described as a “desire to leave a legacy and change the world” and “make an impact” and “insert similar vague goal here”
I figured I'd use this excuse to be brave and put my writing out there.
So I started to write on LinkedIn - an article every month, religious, like clockwork. The initial apprehensions of being seen as a nut job who writes about strange things and has a wacky world view all dissipated very quickly. From writing articles once a month, I graduated to posting something every single day. Something short and cool. Maybe just a quote I like or a 5 liner around my current favourite self improvement topic.
It was all in good fun and it still is. I continue to write and enjoy the process of it.
When I started out, I feared these 3 things
- Not being able to withstand harsh criticism on my work
- Having to risk my public image and looking 'vulnerable’
- Alienating my friends who had never seen this side of me.
To my surprise and delight, none of these things really manifested in the way I thought they would.
In fact, after a while, I was more peeved about these things:
- Not getting enough likes on the posts or articles
- Not having a rock solid image or strong personal brand on LinkedIn. I wasn’t ‘leveraging’ fast enough (whatever that means)
- Worrying about how far along my competition is and how much catching up I’d have to do.
In the short span of a year, I'd gone from awkward writer to someone who I didn't really like a whole lot.
Tying your self esteem to your personal influence or professional success is a terrible way to live.
I'm starting to see what Simon Sinek meant in his hugely popular talk on millennials.
When I first heard Simon speak of this, I shrugged it off saying it didn't apply to me.
I said I wasn't writing for fame or likes. I'd said I was writing because it made me feel alive and I was sharing it because no one else had said what I was feeling in so many words.
Everything begins benignly and moves toward corruption? Is this what I've become?
The best part is I didn't even know I had changed so much. It took a reading of Ryan Holiday's, 'The Ego is the Enemy’ to help me see this in myself.
Today I write this note, simply to remind myself of what my true intentions are when I write. Sure it may not get a million likes or shares but that's not really the goal now is it.
The goal is this:
- I write to say things that haven’t been said
- I write to make complex things simple
- I write to sort out my own thoughts.
I will continue to put my work out there not to earn praise or become popular, but to shine a light on perspectives that haven't been spelt out by mainstream writers.
To learn and get better at creative expression and mostly to just have fun writing.