Prepare yourself, I’m going to make the lamest confession you’ve heard this week. No, it’s not that I ate a whole box of stuffing with my Sunday roast. (Why would I need to confess that? It was the bomb.)
My confession is that despite the fact that I’m RIGHT HERE writing it, I’m totally embarrassed to have a blog.
I’ve been on Twitter for over a decade, racking up more than 25,000 tweets. That must amount to a pretty impressive word count, probably enough for a (boring) book. My account is easy to find and wide open for anyone to read; friends, my Mum, mortal enemies, my fiancé, neighbours, prospective employers, ex-boyfriends, people who like me and people who don’t. Given how much I’ve posted over the years, I may as well have plonked my naked body on the Fourth Plinth, the sum total of those tweets is probably my ass and my soul laid bare. However, the party food-sized fragments of text lessens the impact. It’s just tweets. I don’t care very much about who reads them.
There shouldn’t feel like a massive difference between writing tweets and writing a blog, but there is, absolutely, of course. Something about writing a personal blog is audacious. It feels downright cheeky to assume that people would care to read what you have to say. Worse still, I always write about myself. Perhaps I’m a huge narcissist, but I’ve always written about the subject I know best, which feels pretty damn brazen at times.
Of course, on the flip side to the audacity, writing a personal blog makes you vulnerable too. You show your (rather large) soft underbelly and pray that no-one is shitty to you. There’s a conflict, you’re stood on a chair yelling, “Hey, I’m a #blogger! Read my stuff! LOOK AT ME! Read my brain thoughts! I’m fucking interesting! LOOK AT ME!” but when writing about yourself, you’re all too aware that you willingly hand strangers the ability to trample all over your heart.
Not to mention that it feels massively self-absorbed to be talking about yourself when World War III seems like it’s lolloping over the hill. Actually, hold up, hold up, hold up a sec. All things in perspective, yeah? While I’m not my own biggest fan, I can at least say, confidently and objectively, that I’m not an international embarrassment on the scale of Brexit or Trump. (I’m sure you are nodding in agreement with me. Please at least pretend to nod.)
I began putting more effort into writing and blogging when I was having a tough time at work. I’d come home, sink a few bourbons and write to distract myself from the tightness in my jaw, the fear of the next working day.
I was inspired by other people’s blogs, I love reading them and I’ve encouraged so many friends to write. But we all know that you’re never as kind to yourself as you are to others. Imposter syndrome is real, hanging over your head like a grumpy little storm cloud. I sit here feeling like a fake, a fraud and a phoney. That’s why I’m embarrassed to have a blog. I have no writing qualifications but look! I’m typing! I’m (technically) writing! It’s almost readable! Can I do this? Am I doing this? I think I could be.
As wiser minds have said, if you write then you’re a writer, but I’m sure I’ll never think of myself as a one. It just won’t happen. But here’s the thing! I don’t need permission to write, I don’t even need permission to call myself a writer. I don’t need to get hung up on anything, not even whether I’m good at writing.
I only need to get the hell over putting myself down, because some people do read what I write and some people even enjoy it. I need to sit my fat ass down and shut the fuck up. Or sit my fat ass down and write. Whatever.
I just finished a wonderful book by a gifted writer. Naturally, instead of looking at it as encouragement, I feel like I can’t compare, I can’t compete. I’m a faker. Obviously, I shouldn’t think of comparing and competing. So, what then? Faking it is ok, actually. Fake it ’til I make it? That will have to do.
I’ll fake being a writer and maybe you can fake being my reader.