I’ve been writing for a long time. I think my first story was given to my grandfather when I was maybe 5 or 6. It was short and sweet, more of a comic than anything else. It was a bit crude, and even a bit rude, but he must have liked it since he’s still got it tucked away in a toolbox in his basement. I was that kid all through school that had a book with me instead of a Discman or a Game Boy. I would haul all kinds of tales on my back, along with my school books, and would read away all the painfully slow minutes of school that I could.
I read everything that I could get my hands on. Sometimes I would be tucked away with The Romanovs, by Robert K. Massie, or Dove by Robin L Graham, other times I would read the Harry Potter series and pretend that I was on a train instead of a dusty hot bus. I always had a notebook stowed away too, one that no one was allowed to see. I’d pull it out to entertain myself when I found the world around me to be too boring or stagnant.
I started with poetry, and I wrote a lot of it at first. It varied from dark to inspiring, and I even published one of the more appropriate poems in my graduation yearbook. I suppose that no one ever really got a good look at my private writing up until recently.
When I told my family that I was going to have one of my short stories published, they were excited, as is to be expected. When they asked me what it was about, I was a little apprehensive. I mumbled the word “horror”, hoping that they would be too happy to hear and would maybe even forget all about it. It’s not that I am ashamed of my stories, it is more that they are so different from what I think everyone would expect. It’s not that I am a super bubbly person in real life, I’m not even that cheerful. My mother jokes that I am Spock‘s daughter, if that tells you anything. Logical, undramatic, and ever the realist.
I am shy about my writing. I only let a select few read it, and those are a couple of close friends with a knowledge of my writing and my personality. It’s going to be an experience seeing one of my stories go public, even if it’s only flash fiction in a magazine. What I am trying to tell myself now is that just because I write horror (at the moment), it does not mean that I am a dark and twisted person myself. All it means is that when I feel a story tugging at my fingertips and funneling my vision, something wants to be written. I cannot always control what that is.
I write and edit a lot of business content for clients. This is my bread and butter. What comes out creatively, in my own time, is something completely different. It is my own. It is completely and utterly separate from my work and from what people expect from me. Perhaps it is the thrill of writing something that contrasts my professional writing so blatantly that shapes what I write.
Either way, just remember that whatever you are writing, whatever your genre or story, whatever appears on the page, it doesn’t mean that you are what you have written. Inspiration and drive come from a million different places, some acknowledged and some forgotten. Something as simple as a word could inspire a tale to sprout and grow in your brain. It’s not always within your control, but you should never ignore the need to write.
Have you ever been shy to show someone your writing? Was it because of your genre? Was it because you were afraid of negative feedback? What did you do to get over it, and how did you feel when you did?