On Sharing

I forget how hard it is, to share. Days go by, and I’m happy with all of my thoughts staying in my head.

And then, maybe I think about sharing something, and my inner editor says:

  • No one needs to know this
  • This is unimportant to anyone else
  • This is only a half formed thought
  • Others would have thought this already
  • Others would think this is stupid
  • There are enough words and information out in the world already, nobody needs to see more

And then, if a thought somehow gets past those hurdles, new blocks appear:

  • How do I even explain this
  • This will take too long to write
  • I have other things to do
  • This is hard to describe, so I give up
  • I sound stupid
  • No one needs to know this

And boom! We’re back at the beginning.

For fiction, it’s so much worse, because “This is hard to describe” is strengthened ten-fold. Maybe I imagine…

A heated argument happens between two male strangers in a cafe. It escalates to physical threats, then ends up with one of the men wetting his pants in fear. The cafe owner comes over, and says, “Get out of my cafe!” to the instigator, who is then humiliated in front of everyone, and leaves. Then, surprisingly, the barista walks over, and gives the other guy a hug, even though he smells of urine, and arranges to get him some new shorts from a nearby thrift shop, and a free meal and coffee.

Writing it in summary sentences is easy. And then you have to start explaining the details.

Today, I fell in love with a woman, and she gave me her phone number. I should probably tell my boyfriend. I was minding my own business, having a late lunch at 1000 £ Bend. There weren’t any free tables, so I sat at the counter, hoping that some people would leave soon enough.

Now that paragraph took much longer to write. Where do you start, what point of view, what context, what’s the setup? You have a million decisions to make. I love writing, but it sure is hard work.

So I say to my inner editor:

FW: “You love reading Priya’s writing on Who Sent You. You love reading Lianne’s writing on The Self Help Hipster. You love reading Michelle’s writing on The Jamjar.”
IE: “Yeah, so?”
FW: “So, imagine if they said, ‘Bah, no one needs to know this,’ and didn’t write anymore?”
IE: “Well, yeah. Sometimes their websites aren’t updated for ages.”
FW: “And how do you feel, when they don’t write?”
IE: “I wish that they would write. I wish they would share some thoughts.”
FW: “Exactly.”
IE: “Oh, okay. I get your point.”
FW: “Yeah.”
IE: “Hmmm. I am your inner editor, though, so you’ll just need to ignore me when I tell you not to share.”
FW: “Yeah. I’m learning that.”

I’m on a mission to override my inner editor.


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