Writing is my first love. But that was not the reason why I wrote “The power of your writing”. I wrote that post because throughout my life I have been significantly touched by people’s stories, I have witnessed how other people’s lives are impacted by stories, I have felt and touched the power of words. More significantly, I have experienced the power of my own writing through all those times I channeled my pain, joy, healing, anger into these words and saw how they in turn, transformed me.
I live, because I wrote.
I feel a lot more comfortable writing my fragmented thoughts and jumbled emotions in this personal journal, fully vulnerable and unedited, than to write a post that I so very much want to craft for more people, simply because to me it was one of the most important messages I ever had to carry. You could choose to identify with my writing here or not, it is very personal and I understand it is not everyone’s cup of tea. But I truly believed in the power of your writing – it is really important to me that I was writing something that would be able to equal my belief in you. I needed to write something that spoke to you, that would make some of you bring up a writing screen, empowered by nobody but yourself.
It was such a difficult post to write, because of the weight I pinned on it myself. The idea to write that post didn’t come to me recently, it was something that has been sitting at the back of my mind for years. I never had the courage nor the platform to write it.
Certain things have to be set in place before there is a tipping point for any decision. I fell in love with Medium (yes this was before I even saw the possibility of working there) and at the same time, there was a small but growing community at helpmewrite. I signed up for helpmewrite only recently, because I was too, guilty of the idea that I write mostly because my words have to come spontaneously to me, I was not sure if being compelled to write by people voting on ideas was even my thing.
Truth be told, it is still not my thing. I still choose to write because I need to, that most of the time I have a subject matter so important to me that I will start disintegrating if I didn’t write it. I still do not care whether people think it is worth publishing or not. The fact that I care about something myself is enough for me to write.
However, because people were voting on the idea, I received notifications through my email that people wanted to read “The power of writing”. It was not the number of notifications I received per se, it was that these dripping notifications served as a persistent reminder that I should give life to this post.
So one Sunday morning, I sat down to write “The power of writing”, though I altered the title to, “The power of your writing”. One additional word, such an incredible difference to me. I do not want to end up writing a post that speaks about the benefits of writing, everyone knows writing is a good thing to do. But not enough people know that writing is an amazing thing to do, for yourself.
I didn’t have an outline, I would be honest. I had no idea what I was going to write except that I very much believed in what I was going to write with every single bit of my heart. I closed my eyes, told myself I would trust the process, that all that really mattered was that I wrote with nothing but my heart.
I came up with the main body of the post in that same afternoon, feeling really uncertain whether something I wrote in one sitting without much edits (I typically write and publish everything in one sitting) would be accessible enough. I sent the unfinished post to two people I felt would understand why it meant so much to me. The post came back with some suggested edits and that I should publish it.
I sent it to the “supporters” at helpmewrite, some of them left me wonderful notes on my Medium draft post, which helped tip me further. I let the post sit in my drafts for another full week, before I sat down on another Sunday afternoon to give it an once-over edit.
It was the second Sunday afternoon that truly birthed the post. The first Sunday I wrote the essence of it with what came to me, the second Sunday I slowly gave it life by touching every single word I wrote with my heart. The final draft that went out really wasn’t much different from the first, but it was that I re-read and re-wrote certain parts of it with such intent and love – when I finally hit publish, it was not a post I was uncertain of, it was a post I knew I wrote with all of me.
At that point, it didn’t matter anymore if anyone would read it or resonate with it. I gave it all of me that I could possibly summon and that was the best I could do for something I loved so much. I gave it my all, if that wasn’t enough, it was enough for me to answer to myself that I did everything I could.
So I don’t have Google Analytics or anything else on this site. I have a very serendipitous attitude towards my writing. If people would read what I write, that would be nice. If they don’t, well, I can’t force a connection that was not meant to happen.
But “The power of your writing” was different for me. It was not so much the validation to my writing that I was seeking, but the validation to my belief in the idea that I was seeking. I believe that everyone has something to write, wants to write, and will feel the power of their own writing if they would even start. That if everyone share what they wrote, the world would be a much better place, for we will get to know each other as human beings with stories to tell, with all that makes us worthy of being human.
We are human not because we’re the most intelligent species, we are human because we are capable of writing our own stories, in every manner of what this means.
The post did really well statistics wise, way beyond my wildest expectations, but it was not the numbers that gave me so much heart in what I do.
It was reactions like these:
— Kate Heming Panchal (@kateheming) August 12, 2013
— MDS (@mds) August 12, 2013
@wynlim I loved your piece, I used to write all the time and don't remember why I stopped. I'm getting out my notebook again
— Brooke Hollyfield (@zeebrooke) August 13, 2013
I told myself that if the post could encourage just 5 people to start writing – the keyword is “start”, I would gladly die in the next second as a very happy soul. If you would read the notes people left on the post & the tweets in reaction to it, perhaps you may get an inkling why this means so much to me.
I write to live, I live to write; I write because I love the highest ideal of what humanity can be.
p.s. yes, over here you get the unedited emo me writing about myself, over at Medium you get the edited version of me who writes primarily about you.