Why am I doing this again? 5 reasons to keep writing

June 22nd, 2013  |  by Veralyn Williams |  Published in Blog, Personal Essays

So I missed a day. The goal was 30 Blogs in 30 days, but I missed yesterday. Not that I didn’t write (in fact I’m in the middle of two different essays), but after getting home at 3am and rising early for a jam-packed day… I did have a “why am I doing this again?” moment.

Instead of just feeding-the-blog-machine I decided to take a day to reflect on that question, and came up with 5 answers:

Perfecting my craft.
In this multimedia world that we live in, there are so many ways to tell a story. And when I started blogging, I was excited to take on them all! I started a video blog, I started a podcast, and I got on everything social media platform I learned about. But somewhere in the mix I forgot about writing. And honestly (in my humble opinion) the hardest way to tell a story well, is through words. So if I want to become the next Zora, I need to practice everyday!

Finding commonalities with others.
I have always been fascinated by how the more specific you are in telling your personal story, the more universal your story becomes. And since I started telling my stories as a Sierra Leonean-American woman in her 20’s, I have had some of the most amazing conversations on identity and the experiences that help shape us. Especially with other women. It’s like we’re all just waiting for someone to speak first, and then the floodgates burst open! I’ll happily take the lead.

Deep reading my experiences.
The reason I am in the middle of two different essays is because I have been struggling with how I really feel about what happened. Without saying too much (because I promise there will be a blog soon) I feel like I am constantly being tested to “practicing what I preach.” For instance, most of the time– I really live my mantra, “all about perspectives,” everyday– but there are moments when I just don’t value a perspective or I’m judging someone’s perspective… and I think those moments say a lot more about me than anyone else. Unfortunately self-reflection can be the most challenging.

Documenting my days.
I kept a diary from age 15 till about 22, and a lot of it is very chronological. This happened, then that happen, and so on. And reading it back I am amazed at what details I choose to write. I want to be able to look back at this time when I’m 40, and have those same reflections. Plus its all material for the “book” one day!

Public accountability.
The funny thing about announcing you’re going to do something– is then you actually feel the pressure to do it. As much as I “love to write”– life happens, I get busy, and what I “love” gets pushed to the back burner for a tomorrow that never comes. But I’ll admit that writing for an audience presents it own set of challenges.

1) I am always worried about oversharing. 2) I don’t want my family and friends to always feel like they’re characters for my work. 3) I’m opening up myself to the risk of being misinterpreted and/or judged by the “internets.” 4) I realize a potential boss probably does not need to know most of what I write about.

All that said I’ve decided that “my public” are the ones that really read my work before they form an opinion, and those folks I’m happy to be accountable to!

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    My new essay explores how Beyonce’s feminist stance in pop culture helped frame my own feminist awakening:

    “I am in my 30s and was emboldened by Beyonce’s feminist stance on that stage, and can’t help but believe that that image will be equally as powerful to young people who witness that moment, whose first engagement with feminism will be that moment. Maybe, just maybe, Beyonce will serve as the bridgebetween pop culture and feminists like bell and Barbara and Audre, maybe some young woman bobbing her head to ‘Blow’ or ‘Partition’ or ‘Flawless’ will do so while reading Ain’t I A Woman? or Homegirls or Sister Outsider.”

    —FROM my new essay: My Feminist Awakening & the Influence of Beyonce’s Pop Culture Declaration