When I started sharing my writing on the internet back in 2012, it wasn’t because I’d written anything I was proud of. It was because I had hit rock bottom and had nowhere else to go.
I was too depressed to go to work and too anxious to socialise. My ‘professional working woman’ outer shell, the one I’d spent years creating, had all but disintegrated and I was…. confused.
Writing online was my way of figuring that out and a few years later it turned out rather well. I published two books and was paid to write for magazines. I began to host online writing courses for others, finding satisfaction in pulling others up to where I felt we all deserved to be.
But this time, writing explicitly about the gurglings in my subconscious through personal essays or a memoir hasn’t felt quite right. It hasn’t felt enough.
But over the last few years, amidst coming out as a lesbian and processing a painful divorce, I’ve felt that urge return again. An urge to find myself through writing.
I’ve written a few blogs, regularly written to my newsletter fam (I see you!) but there is something more potent stirring that needs a unique outlet.
Non-fiction has always been my jam.
A true story tugs on my heartstrings everytime, I’m a nosey bugger and I want to know about people’s lives and the stories they survive. But this time, writing explicitly about the gurglings in my subconscious through personal essays or a memoir hasn’t felt quite right. It hasn’t felt enough.
I’m only just finding the courage to really say what is going on in my brain and to shape it into something subjective, something that cannot be bumped up by a clickable headline or polished by a professional editor.
I need a fresh set of paints to create my art.
And I really do mean art, because after writing books as part of the traditional publishing model I feel as though I disregarded myself as an artist completely. I tweaked my words and edited my ideas to make my writing profitable.
Do I regret it? Not necessarily.
It’s a process I had to go through to experience first-hand. I have tangible proof that I can write professionally (which not everyone needs, but I’m insecure so it helps) but now I want to prove to myself that I can write artistically too.
My approach to non-fiction has always been about the internal monologue mixed in with external events. But there aren’t always words that express the wild and unspeakable things that go on in our heads.
So I turned to poetry to figure out what was going on in there with the hope of alchemising it into something that I feel is an artistic representation of who I am.
I’ve been writing poetry for over a year, but more recently something shifted in me. I gave myself permission to really dedicate the time to my craft. To read more poetry, to learn about technique, take part in courses and begin editing and sharing my work.
This is all vulnerable in a way that feels rather dramatic. Who cares if I’m writing poetry? Does anyone care? I have no idea and maybe that’s what I’m finding so unbearably raw. That I’m only just finding the courage to really say what is going on in my brain and to shape it into something subjective, something that cannot be bumped up by a clickable headline or polished by a professional editor. This is all on me now.
I’m writing this because I don’t think enough writers talk about changing lanes. About getting out of a niche they’ve built for themselves and doing the scary thing of trying to break out of it.
Perhaps you’ve told yourself that you could only ever write fiction because your life isn’t interesting enough to be a memoir.
Maybe you’ve stuck to poetry because a novel seems like a mammoth task you’re incapable of completing.
Or perhaps like me, you’ve stuck with the kind of writing that other people said you are good at.
Whatever your writing lane, consider this blog post a flashing green arrow encouraging you to merge into a new one, and allow your inner artist to take the wheel. Read more about my poetry.