April 3, 2017

How a 31-day Writing Challenge taught me to be my own Best Friend.

“And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” ~ Sylvia Plath


I am on day four of a 31-day writing challenge—and I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most disciplined person in the land.

But anything worth doing authentically requires a shedding of skin and a rebirth into a new way of living. So I made a pinky swear with myself that I will continue to write and post and work through all this uncomfortably exhilarating insecurity.

Each day I learn how to fall in love with the process of writing, because it’s teaching me to get to know my true self. I enjoy the process of sitting my butt down and bleeding my heart all over my keyboard, the process of letting my imagination soar and making absolutely no sense to anyone but myself, and most importantly, the process of being willing to suck. Yet, within the not-so-great writing days I always find those moments where an otherworldly voice is speaking through me, and what it has to say is always relevant.

I’ve started my own blog and am beyond grateful that I have so many wonderful people in my corner to cheer me on and let me know that what I have to say is important. But at the end of the day, writing is about unveiling the truth of myself to myself. Getting to know the inner workings of who this Erika person is—how she views life, her perceptions, her fears, her hopes, her loves, her desires, and her fantasies.

Writing is an invitation everyday to have coffee and conversation with myself.

For too many years, I have looked outside of myself for approval. I was like a little sponge soaking up what I believed the world wanted from me, especially as a female. I witnessed the power of attractiveness and spent countless hours trying to contort my outsides to fit an image of femaleness which seemed like both a safety jacket and a power suit. I was never really concerned with what was going on inside as long as I played the part I needed to play on the outside, and everyone was comfortable.

So for many years, even though I was talented and outgoing and friendly and funny and smart, I had no f*cking clue who was maneuvering this picturesque vehicle of self. I was the queen mimic of what I thought society needed me to be in order to feel “safe.” But I never knew who I was performing for.

Reading another person’s humanity and vulnerability through their courageous words has both changed and saved my life. It has shown me who I truly am.

I believe that writing and reading are priceless gifts. I’ve learned so much through the words of others—everything from how to train for a marathon to how to cast a magic spell. I’ve learned that I’m not alone and that at any moment I can pick up a book or read an article or listen to music lyrics and be transformed. Reading and writing are a fantastic way to spend quality time with yourself because it’s you and you alone, going on a fanciful journey somewhere within the realm of your one and only imagination.

So spend some time alone with words today. Whether you’re the reader or the writer, your words will indeed bring you and others home.


Author: Erika Anne Soerensen

Image: Courtesy of author

Editor: Nicole Cameron

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