Great writers, of the past, never had blogs. They never had twitter accounts, websites, or any forms of social media. All they ever had was an ink well, a quill, and a piece of parchment; a pen and a leather bound journal (and in some cases, possibly a typewriter). Instead of typing data onto a screen they filled the pages of their journals with millions of scribbles. That was enough for them, and it was from these mediums that great masterpieces came. Great stories like The Odyssey, Moby Dick, Great Expectations, Little Women, Of Mice and Men, Fahrenheit 451, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin were all birthed by a steady hand covered with ink splatters. When they were unsatisfied with a page they started over; when they were content, they moved the page to the back of the stack. (Even those who were blessed with the use of a typewriter would have to begin afresh if anything needed a change). Crumpled paper in waste cans, that was their ‘Backspace’, and well written pages were their ‘Save’ button.
Now, however, everything has changed. Most well received (famous) writers have blogs, twitters, and websites. It is almost impossible to be a writer today if you are not a social media guru. This fact has got me thinking a lot about how I am most satisfied and inspired as a writer. Is it in cyber space or in open space? Is it in this blog or in my journal pages? Is it important to balance blog and journal entries well? I’m sure the answer to all these questions is different for every person, but here are some of the things I learned about myself through this internal dialog:
So often the place where I feel most inspired is the place where no one can see me, or my words. It is in those places where the world doesn’t exist; where the world consists of my thoughts and words. On the other hand, it is when I know that my words inspire other people that I feel most like I belong. When people can easily access my words, thoughts, and feelings I feel accomplished as a writer. It is through a network of voices that I gain the strength to continue to write, in hopes that I might continue to inspire.
There is, however, a huge conflict between these two worlds for me:
I want to be invisible, but I want to be seen.
I want to keep my thoughts to myself, but I want to inspire the world and tell my story.
I want my words to be safe from critics, but I want to risk them.
I want to hold tight, but I want to let go.
This is the great challenge of writers and thinkers in the modern world. It is so easy to get trapped and to forget ourselves in the cyber world, but at same time, it is simple to get lost in ourselves in the wide open spaces. In one case we too easily sacrifice our private thoughts in order to inspire the masses, and on the other, we too easily sacrifice the words that inspire to keep our world safe from the world’s critics. I am learning that now, more than ever, we must fight for balance. As innovators, writers, poets, artists, photographers, and thinkers we need to battle in order to keep inspiring the masses and keep inspiring ourselves.
We have been given such a great platform to inspire others and tell our story, but may we not forget our roots in our attempts to share our creations with others.