When I was a child, I was a fervent writer. I wrote stories as a hobby, and loved the excitement of starting a new tale. In high school, I worked up the nerve to submit a few stories to local writing competitions, and in a few cases won prizes.
My career goal had always been science-based, with no intention of publishing any of my writing. I wrote stories mostly for myself, for the sake of enjoyment, and left it at that. At University, in addition to biology, physics, and biochemistry classes, I studied film theory, and loved the essay-writing component. I briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a film scholar, quickly realized that I would prefer more stable employment, and returned my focus to the sciences. I graduated, started vet school, and essays and stories disappeared quietly, now unnecessary in the world of scientific analysis.
My only writing, save for the occasional report at Uni, was in the form of blogging. Knitting really fired me up, so I had a lot to say. I also carried with me a sense that, even when shouting into the vast nothingness of the internet, someone would care what I have to say. And a few did, and I was pleased and grateful. I am just another blog, but I liked writing, and I was too excited about connecting with other knitters to feel much shame about my writing abilities.
Somewhere, along the way, I began to turn my voice off. I would start to write, make it halfway along, then decide that no one cared what I had to say, anyway, and close the window. Lather, rinse, repeat. Lots of finished ideas turned into unfinished essays, stored on Weebly's server but never published. My brain is already designed to overanalyze, which drove me through vet school, but in the "real world" it drives me insane with second-guessing. In addition to my personal self-doubt and self-criticism, the internet has become increasingly nastier within the last few years, and I do fear some sad douchebag deciding to invest his free time in harassing me. Luckily the knitting community is generally filled with kind people, and most t-r-o-l-l-s are too busy harassing minorities to really focus on some nobody's knitting blog, but ... the fear exists. Putting your voice on the internet feels riskier than ever.
I have been designing my own knitting patterns recently. Much like my childhood stories, these are purely for my pleasure, but a big part of me loves the idea of publishing them as well. However, the same insecurity that has caused me to lose my writing voice also challenges my desire to share these patterns with the world. I am not resilient against criticism - in fact, I am terrified of it, even in the mostly peaceful and kind world of knitters. However, having recently entered my 30s, it feels like time to buck up, most on from the scars of teenagedom, and put my abilities on display. I'm starting with baby steps, in the form of an essay. Maybe some more blogging, quietly spoken into the void, will follow. Mostly I just want to open the door - so here it goes.