Writing.

Writing has always come easily to me. That isn't to say that my writing is anything special, only that when it comes to sitting down and putting a bunch of words together I think I'm pretty dang alright at it. I've met people that say they have such a hard time writing but it's difficult for me to understand that. Those same people always try to attribute my lack of understanding on the matter to my education (I have a degree in English) but the truth to that is I wouldn't have pursued a degree in this subject if I wasn't already good at it. I'm being 100% honest – being pro-active is not my strong suit. If it comes between making a decision of taking the “easy” route or the “hard (but, in the long run, more beneficial because it teaches you about hard work, perseverance and blah blah blah)” route I'm not going to think too long on which one I'd prefer to take. Essays in college were a breeze, although I'm still sometimes shocked at the quality of work I was able to produce under the circumstances I put myself in. Example: its 8pm the night before my 16 page essay on [insert some literary debate here] is due. I have yet to open a word document. Sure, I've put some thought into what I want to write. That's the hardest part, right? Sitting down and putting all my thoughts into words in one cohesive structure just came so easily to me. I think it has something to do with the amount of privacy you have while writing. No one is listening to you stumble through your words or hearing your attempts at constructing a well worded sentence. You have complete privacy to say what you're thinking. You have the ability to rewrite and reorganize your words. You can take a minute to think on exactly which word best articulates the thought you are trying to express and, if you don't like it, can decide to change it later. You can't do that when you're talking. Well, I suppose you could but it would be weird. This brings me to my road bump when it comes to writing – who will be reading my words? Because, like I said, I consider writing very private. Concern of who will read my writing once I'm finished is a huge deal to me. With college essays it didn't matter much because I knew the person reading my essay would be someone educated on the subject I had written about and would be judging my words based on my display of knowledge on the subject. That isn't too intimidating because it's not creative writing. It's not something that would unveil ideas and thoughts that completely originated in my mind. I once took a Science Fiction class in college and for the final we had to write a creative sci-fi short story. That terrified me. Completely and utterly terrified me. I couldn't hide behind facts and information that were accessible to everyone on a subject that has been widely discussed for years. These would be words and thoughts that were 100% my own. Had this not been an assignment and I was writing something for myself that I could decide who, if anyone, could read it I think I would have enjoyed writing it much more. Once the story was done I began second guessing all of my ideas. Is that really original or am I completely ripping something off? Is this plot even believable? Does it make sense at all? Those were my road bumps. The actual process of writing the story came effortlessly – thoughts into words. Easy. Having to deal with my thoughts on them afterwards – yikes. Turns out my instructor thought it was great and so did the select few I shared it with. They all told me I had a “gift” and should be very proud. This made me feel uncomfortable. Receiving praise for something that came so easily to me didn't seem merited or earned. I truly felt as though I made no effort. I've always sort of blushed when people make comments like these and brush them off faster than they can be laid on me. Only recently have I decided to try to embrace this “talent” I have and attempt to open myself up to the possibilities it may grant me. The catalyst for this change of thought occurred yesterday when someone told me how talented and gifted I was after reading a cover letter I wrote for a job. A cover letter. A simple, short, nothing-special piece of writing that I was trying to use to convince someone to hire me. I finally decided that I should try to start sharing my writing with people. So here I was with this brave (ha) new confidence. I went online to see where I could put this bravery to the test. The first think I came across was Biopage, and they were asking for people to submit writing on the subject of… anything they wanted. Well shoot, if there's anything else further from a prompt I don't know what it is. This project called for me to come up with something 100% on my own for others to read and it was perfect. So here I am. I sat down and just started writing. I figured talking about why I was here was as good as anything else I could come up with. So now I'm ready to get my ideas out there, terrified as I may be.

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Jane Doe

Aspiring writer, budding linguist.

Cape Town, South Africa