By Wes Annac, The Annac Blog
I don’t know what it means to be a writer. I don’t know what it will require from me or if I’ll feel fulfilled when all is said and done. I don’t know if there’s a place in the world for these writings, and the thought of sharing them is a little scary. Sometimes I can’t figure out if I’m experiencing impostor syndrome or I really am an impostor.
I have no idea if anyone will like what I share. It might come off as cringey. I usually cringe when I read back over this stuff, but every now and then, I’ll feel like I did something right. My grasp on what is “good writing” is juvenile at best; I just write what I’m feeling and hope I do it in a creative enough way.
I don’t know what I’m doing or where I intend to take this “job” writing articles for you fine folks. All I know is that something compels me to write. I get a sense of dread when I go too long without putting pen to paper, and no matter how hard I try to drown it out, I just can’t get away from that awful feeling. It feels like I’m missing out on something that’s important for my mental health.
It is comparable to going too long without a workout. I understand that not everyone will follow me down this line of reasoning, because working out is not something everyone does and that’s okay. I’ve never been athletic, but I discovered during the pandemic that I need to exercise.
By clearing out the junk that builds up in my head, exercise makes it easier for me to be a functional, sociable human and not feel so worthless when I go out into the world. I won’t bore you with another motivational article about how great it is to work out, but suffice to say, it has improved my otherwise dreary outlook.
I feel significantly better when I write and work out regularly, but I start to feel lost if I go too long without either of them. Writing is an intellectual exercise that helps to clear the mind in a way similar to a tough workout. They are of course two very different things, but they are both therapeutic in their own ways.
Despite my love for writing and this drive to keep doing it, I cringe at the thought that one day, thousands of people could be reading the things I write. Like many writers, I don’t think my work is that good. It’s tough to be vulnerable with the probability that my writing will come off as cheesy, and if I were to become a little more successful, there would be a lot of scrutiny and a lot to keep up with.
To be subjected to the kind of public scrutiny that a moderately successful person on the internet has to deal with would not be easy. When you add to it the responsibility of staying connected with a growing community of readers and critics, it starts to sound less fulfilling and more overwhelming.
Yet still, something keeps bringing me back to this. No matter how far away I drift due to anxiety, overwhelm, impostor syndrome, or all of it together; I always find myself back here, staring at a blank computer screen until I have something to share.
The young idealist in me wants to shout from a mountaintop that writing is what I’m meant to do. But maybe after a few years, this won’t have gone any further than the small bit of success I’ve enjoyed so far. If that happens, I can happily move on knowing that I gave it my all.
I’ll be at peace if I try my hardest and still end up working a regular job. But at the risk of sounding over-dramatic: I won’t forgive myself if I don’t give it my best effort now. I have to see where this will go, which means that with no success guaranteed, I have to try. If I don’t, then the thought that I could have done something cool like this but chose to squander my potential would gnaw at me forever.
I’m going to follow this inspiration because it will turn into gloom if I don’t. Working out has given me an understanding of the structure and discipline I will need to do this for real, so I have an idea of where I should start and plenty of reasons to quit putting it off.
We can never predict what will happen from one day to the next, but I’m eager to take my first real steps and see where this road will lead. Even though it can feel like a herculean effort, writing is just too fulfilling to let go of.