In the back of my closet, I keep an old tattered, spiral-bound notebook, hidden from everyone else and even myself, most of the time. The writing is faded, barely legible. None of the poems were meant for publication and never will be. Even if I had the time to seriously rework and revise the poems, they will never be publish-worthy.
So why do I keep it? If no one else finds it worthy?
That book of poems was written when I was a teenager, when I went through one of the darkest, most depressive times of my life. It contains raw emotions from the confusion and despair that was so real to me at that time. When I had no one to turn to, that book became my friend, a safe place where I could confide and release my anxiety without perfection or judgement. For me, the words poured out of my soul as poetry -- bad poetry. But it didn't matter. It was what I needed at that time.
As I write for teens, I often need to go back to that place, to tap into those raw emotions that I felt, as a teen, and create something fresh and new. I keep that notebook because it is a part of me, who I was, but I also keep it so I can re-connect with someone deep inside me, who is now lost in my adult world.
As writers, it is difficult to think about writing something that will never be published. But a lot of writing not meant to be published. It is meant for other, even greater things. Sometimes, it's healing. Other times, it's personal and private, between two people only. Writing can be mean for discovery, inner reflection, or connection with God. Those pieces are often not meant for publication and shouldn't be pushed to be something they are not.
On the last Friday of every month this year, I will share a part of my writing journey with you. I hope that these reflections will help you tune to where you are in your writing journey. The joy is not in arriving at some final publication destination. The joy is in the journey of writing.
So, where do you turn when the world seems to consume you? When all you cling to is a pen and paper? Do you write a poem? a letter? Do you draw? write non-sensical words? or journal? Whatever form of writing you turn to, don't overthink it. Just write it. Keep it in a private journal or tattered notebook. The words are yours, only yours. They are not meant for the world, and that is okay.
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