“Have you written much lately?”

“So… what do you want to do after year 12?” my driving instructor asks.

I’m a nervous driver, especially if I’m having a driving lesson, and maybe he thought this would help me settle in to just driving.

“Well,” I said. “I’m not sure yet. But I’ve been thinking about journalism. Or something to do with writing. I like writing.”

“That’s great!” he said. “You should write a blog or submit pieces to magazines or something to get started now.”

A lot of people have been asking me about my writing. Aunts. Uncles. Grandparents. Parents. My parents’ friends who have read a few of my blog posts or who are curious about my post-Year 12 plans.

“Have you been writing much lately?” “When’s your next blog post coming out?” “You could write a True Story about this!”

Since I wrote my last blog post (December 2020!), I haven’t written very much at all. 19 diary entries in 2021, of varying lengths. (I’m doing better so far this year, and have written 14 for 2022.) A few random creative pieces. I went through a month where I furiously wrote poetry – it was supposed to be for school, but I got on a roll and had too much fun.

And this blog post. I’ve written it in my head about a hundred times but have been too scared to put it down on paper. Nervous I would write it wrong. Or give up halfway through. Unsure if I actually wanted to post anything on my blog.

(Funnily enough, the core of this blog post was actually written in October 2021, and technical issues have stopped me from polishing it up until now.)

Sometimes I’m too much of a perfectionist for my own good.

I like writing. It can give me a thrill – especially writing poetry. Sometimes it comes very naturally to me, and it’s nice to have a way to communicate your thoughts with ease. It feels good when people tell you they genuinely enjoyed reading something you wrote. I get inspired reading other people’s work, or reading/watching stories of writers.

People look at my subject selection for Year 12 and exclaim, “that’s a lot of essay writing!” But essay writing is what I’m best at in school. It’s what comes more naturally to me. I can smash them out, and they’ll be good enough most times. I think I can get away with writing them last minute, so they might not always be the best, but they’ll be good enough.

But… writing is also hard. I get lazy and unmotivated, and writing is a lot of effort. It’s a lot of investment, and doesn’t always turn out the way you want. I put way too much confidence in my first drafts, even though I know editing is essential for good writing.

“Good writing only exists when you want and need to say something, and never otherwise.”

Heidi N. Moore

I’ve come across this sort of advice from a few writers over the last year. It’s something that I find challenging.

I think I need to reset my writing priorities a little. Sometimes it’s too easy to want my writing to be perfect, just so people like it and tell me it’s good. It’s easy, especially on this blog, to write pieces that are more focused on myself, for a more egocentric purpose.

But I want to really focus on writing when I “want and need to say something”. For me, on this blog, this means writing because I love it, but also because I’m writing for my family and friends.

Honestly, that month where I wrote poem after poem was one of the highlights of my year. I shared them with people, but I kept writing them simply because I was loving it.

My grandpa, my Poppa, has been one of the most persistent people with asking about my writing. He might not even know he is. To be honest with you, sometimes it can feel like people just ask me about my writing out of politeness. Or because they know I should write, and they want to keep me accountable. But after the first couple of times Poppa asked me about it at Christmas, I realised that he genuinely enjoys reading what I write, and misses it when I don’t. In some ways this is obvious, and I do know that my family likes my writing, and I love them for it.

But Poppa (unknowingly, maybe), reminded me why I write this blog, instead of keeping it all in my diary. I think these blog posts are often in lieu of conversations that don’t happen because of distance, lack of time, or because it’s easier to put things in writing.

I think it’s good for me to write on this blog regularly. For accountability. For feedback. But also so I can share my thoughts and stories with everyone who reads this. Most of the time this is my friends and family, but I hope I can also write for anyone else who reads this. I hope some of my little stories are uplifting, inspiring, or comforting for you.

I still like to hear when people enjoy reading what I’ve written, but I don’t feel as if I need to chase that thrill. Writing only when I “want and need to say something”, and for practice, can be difficult. But good.

So thank you to everyone who has been reminding me to write. Here’s to a 2022 where I figure all of this out a little more. 🙂

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