There are many options for showing and sharing our work, yeh?
Ebooks and blogging and ‘zines …oh my.
Well, it’s taken a good long while, but now all my writing has a place, both inside and out. I used to sit down to write this or that, here or there, and try to force the words to fit the setting. Now I say what I want to say, and only after I’ve said it do I decide where it goes.
When I have something to say, I write to my small circle of Friends on Facebook—but I don’t always post it.
If it’s half-baked, it goes into Evernote.
If it gets too long, I add it to my blog.
If it’s too long and too personal, it gets sent as Real Mail.
If it’s so personal it’s a near-secret, it gets tucked into my private stash.
If it’s a true secret, I don’t write it down. At all. Ever.
And if I’m not sure where it goes? I set its privacy in Facebook to Only Me and leave it there until I am sure.
It’s just a flip in the process, yeh? Writing, and then finding a container for the result versus forcing your writing to fit the container you have in mind.
Simple, and even easy, but also vital. It’s changed everything for the better, and I’m glad Jo VanEvery brought it up because I doubt I would’ve come to it on my own.
And so in case it helps you break out of your own unhelpful habits, limitations and expectations around your writing, I offer this to you—
You gotta write when you gotta write, and you gotta write *what* you gotta write, but you don’t gotta publish. Not here, not there, not anywhere.
And when you do publish, you make the rules on where it happens, when it happens, and for whom.
Mind you; word will get out.
Your words are like adult children once they’re in the world—you have no control over where they go, who they meet, what they do and the effect they have on others.
As my mother told me and her mother told her, and my great-grandmother said it before that, “Don’t say anything out your mouth you wouldn’t wanna see on the front page of the Washington Post.” As ever, what’s true for the spoken word is doubly true for the written, especially in this digital world.
Depending on what you wrote, it can be good or bad news (or both) that words are both portable and everlasting. Write only what you intend to be read by someone somewhere because your words may someday be read by everyone, everywhere. There are no secrets except what you take to the grave.
But you can deliver your words in whatever way feels comfortable to you and suits what you have to say, or choose not to share them at all. Think it through:
Digital or on paper?
Public, private, or secret?
Feel free to say whatever you want. There’s a place for everything, and everything has its place.