When I write with the intention to impress people, my writing becomes inauthentic. After rediscovering a friend’s blog I was reminded that sharing my experience of life is interesting enough.
Here’s the introduction to a blog post I published back in 2016. It’s a good example of how my writing changes when I’m trying to sound impressive:
“In order to live authentically, we need to listen to what we need, and provide that for ourselves in any given situation. By listening to what we need we strengthen our relationship with ourselves (the most important relationship there is) and make space for our authentic self to stretch out into the world.”
(Excerpt from the blog post: Listening to what we need)
Aside from being overly wordy, the tone of this introduction implies that I’m an expert at taking care of my needs and I’m in a position to tell you how to do it.
When I wrote this, I was not an expert at taking care of my needs, and I still struggle at it.
If I were to rewrite this paragraph by simply sharing my experience, it would read something like this:
“I’ve noticed that by listening to my needs and taking care of them, I’ve felt safer to express myself authentically. After practising this a few times, my relationship with myself feels stronger and I feel more relaxed to be myself.”
This text is more authentic because I’m simply sharing my observations. When I write like this, my intention is not to impress, but to share an experience I’ve had as directly as possible.
But Why Do I Change How I Write?
I’m still in the process of working this out but I have a few ideas.
I’m aware that there’s a big part of me which wants people to say, “Wow, Ben is amazing.” This part of me wants people to think I’m great so that I feel special, worthy, and accepted.
This want stems from my belief, ‘I’m not good enough.’
So, in an attempt to be noticed, I write as if I’m an expert and have figured out all the answers. However, I realise that this attempt to grab people’s attention is what’s making my writing feel inauthentic.
The Blog That Reminded Me I Can Write as Me
I recently rediscovered my friend Liza’s blog. We used to work together at a games company in Perth. Liza now lives in Stockholm, Sweden and mostly writes about her programming projects and her cats.
It’s interesting to note that even though these topics aren’t immediate interests of mine, I find myself coming back to her blog every once in a while to read a few posts.
Here’s an excerpt from her post about establishing a new sleep routine:
“I have only been serious about my sleep quality since about mid-July, but I am already feeling better. Before this vacation I was exhausted, and until I started getting 8 hours of sleep I didn’t realize just how exhausted I was, and how being rested feels in comparison. Now I know what I’ve been missing! I’m more alert and energetic during the day, but also more relaxed at the same time.”
It’s clear she’s not trying to impress anyone with fancy words or persuade people to think she’s great. She’s just writing about her experience of getting more sleep.
When I read her writing, it feels like I’m reading a journal entry. I feel like she’s sharing part of her life with me and that makes me feel included and part of what she’s going through.
Liza’s blog is a reminder to me that my goal is to share as me, and not to persuade people to like, follow, or subscribe to me.
What About the Doubt?
What if I write as myself but no one pays attention? What if how I naturally share isn’t interesting to other people? That would mean that I’m not interesting! That would mean that I’m not good enough!!
This is where my compassionate self comes in and reminds me that I’m still worthy even if people don’t find my writing interesting.
I remind myself that not everyone will be interested in what I share. Some people will find it intriguing and others will find it boring.
I can accept that.
Let’s make this official:
I, Benjamin Hammersley, declare that this blog is a place for me to share my experiences as I discover myself. I trust that sharing myself, as myself, will be interesting to others, just as I find it interesting when others share as themselves. My goal is not to impress, but to show others I can be myself.
Share Your Thoughts
Does your voice, writing, or tone change in certain situations? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.