Guest Post by Lindsay Fischer
I am excited to bring you this week's writing guest post. Lindsay Fischer is the author of one of my favorite books, The House on Sunset, which is raw and revealing story about living through domestic abuse. This post, however, speaks to another interesting dilemma we writers who are also advocates come across: writing to please others vs. writing current truths. Please take a moment to read this insightful post and comment below!
Lifeless and Suffering: Why My Writing Became Trash
I write poetry when I’m angry, metaphors and flashes of memory forcing me to deal with the flood, and I write non-fiction when the teacher in me wants to come forward, sharing my own vulnerabilities and experiences so others might feel less alone.
And, lately, neither of those roles fit reality so I’ve been silent: writing rang pointless sans those purposes.
That’s why I gave up.
It’s not my calling. My shared thoughts haven’t created debt to myself or others. Nobody’s world will cease existing when and if my words fall flat.
This thought isn’t new, so I won’t claim it to be. I’m not the only person who thrives when the keyboard clicks and dies, imagination drying up when the weight of punching keys feels insurmountable. Likely - in this very moment - there are plenty of others writing the same post, feeling the same way, going through motions to craft and create something that, in the end, feels pedestrian.
Except I might be the only person writing for a venue that reaches your eyes.
Where I went wrong:
I began my career dumping out thoughts because I didn’t think they had anywhere else to go, PTSD and alienation prevalent in my untreated, unhealed survivor brain. I needed to empty them from my head, which was full of trauma and void of logic. Visceral chaos expunged via blog posts. Healing. Did I care who read my words or if anyone stopped by? Nope.
As readers began to find my work, the pressure to continue tweaked my thoughts. Maybe this week I should write about XYZ because others responded to it. Maybe that’s the topic that will help me build a platform.
I diminished my own voice from fear it wasn’t worthy of forming a continued connection, though - in retrospect - my honesty and vulnerability were exactly what people latched onto.
Weeks without new content lead to a slower readership, death by writer’s suicide: silence. I knew whatever I would post should be thrown into the garbage, offensive word vomit nobody wanted. That’s when I felt even more justified in abandoning my space, certain inspiration would find me again when it was ready.
I refused to keep fumbling for key strokes instead of pushing forward.
Weeks went by and loneliness latched on. That’s when others’ words reminded me giving up on what I love because it felt like work (even for one second) was the most asinine way to honor my own needs. The things we hold dearest, truly cherish, in life involve work every once in a while: education, enlightenment, relationships and marriage and parenting.
So why is this any different? What have I now done right?
I’m not special. Sabotaging myself doesn’t make me a snow flake or flower. It makes me feel less valuable, less heard and less in tune with the fibers of my existence. THAT is what makes me question my voice, not a little bit of struggle when I sit down to write. Words are just as important as air and water. When I stop creating them, even the shitty ones, cottonmouth wins and my soul loses.
So now I write whatever the hell I feel like saying that day. It might not be the next great novel or a viral blog post. New readers might not show up.
Even if they don’t, I’ve still honored myself in a way that makes coming back to this space feel sacred.
But maybe they will come and validate my feelings for the day, making me feel less alone and like - you guessed it - the trash I wrote isn’t so bad.
Regardless of all of that, the joys and sorrows of chasing a creative life, I refuse to take away one of the greatest joys, the opportunity to shut down the rest of the world while I work on what’s most important in my own. Tunnel vision, channeling bigger and better, creating for no other reason than it’s part of who I am. Plus, in realizing I’m no different than anyone else, my world has been opened to write about whatever I want. No more BS about only writing about rage or violence or trauma recovery.
Freedom from the fear of worrying about the purpose of creation is soooooo liberating.
My challenge to you, dear readers, is simple. Never let the fear of worthiness kill your words. Never “listen” to your logic when your gut tells you you need to write, even if writing feels less-than-inspired. Having passion doesn’t mean you will always create award-winning projects, but it does mean you’re honoring your soul, and - eventually - that leads to (at the very least) internal reward.
Keep writing even though you’re not special. Even when your words suck. Even when one blog post takes six hours. Because if you don’t fight for it at the most uninspired times, the sweet spots never resurface.
And you deserve the sweet spot, friends.
We all do.
After surviving domestic violence (and three years of trauma therapy), Lindsay Fischer saw an opportunity to use her voice against abuse, blogging as Sarafina Bianco since 2009. She revealed her identity in 2015 when her memoir, The House on Sunset, was released, and she now speaks on behalf of trauma survivors on national stages.
H.M Jones is the author of B.R.A.G Medallion Honor and NIEA finalist book Monochrome, its prequel Fade to Blue, the Adela Darken Graphic Novellas, Al Ravien's Night, The Immortals series, and several short stories.