Here we are on WordPress, all of us as writers. But what does that writing identity look like? I thought I’d do this post to take a closer look into my own.
I’ve always liked to write. When I was young, as in elementary school young I liked to write stories. One of my teachers commented that all of my stories had “big truck endings”, meaning the stories ended because people got run over by a truck or killed off in some other spectacular fashion. The story-writing faded out after elementary school, though, and has never popped up as an interest since. I very briefly experimented with poetry, but that didn’t stick either.
During my first university degree, which was in pharmacy, my courses didn’t require much paper-writing. I journaled, but not regularly. When I did my nursing degree, I had to write a lot of papers for school, but I found those more annoying than anything.
When I was working as a nurse in hospital my charting was pretty short and sweet, but when I started working in community mental health I found that I really enjoyed capturing my clients’ mental illness experience in words. When I started my master’s degree, I gradually began writing about my own illness experiences, and I found that really empowering. That positive experience in grad school made me feel confident enough to start sharing my story in other ways.
I started blogging in fall 2017, and from what I remember it was less about a drive to write and more a desire to do something productive with my time, since I wasn’t working at all then. It was through blogging that I really began to channel my genuine voice that had previously been hovering in the background in silence, and I truly started to form an identity as a writer.
Writing a book wasn’t something that had ever crossed my mind before. It started to bubble up sometime last year, when I saw that it was something that other bloggers had the courage to move forward with. While I do want to publish more books, and I like experimenting with new channels to share my writing, my writing identity still revolves mostly around blogging.
I have a harder time connecting with my voice when I feel like I’m writing for outsiders. I might have what seems like a good idea for a piece to submit outside of my blog, but it tends to be much harder in that situation to get the words to flow. I’m not sure that freelancing would ever be a good fit for me, because the less “mine” a platform is, the greater the writer’s block and a sort of “I just can’t make myself care” feeling. I like to put a lot of “me” in the writing, but that’s harder to do when I don’t know who the audience is.
Mental health still is and likely always will be my real passion to write about. There are some other topics that interest me that I throw into the mix once in a while, but nothing resonates quite like mental health, and I don’t feel any particular urge to step outside of that. I see the various poetry and story prompts floating around WordPress, and while I can see their value in an abstract sense, I’ve never thought hey, I want to try that. But I think it’s a good thing that as a community of writers we’re so diverse; everyone has their own thing and there’s no need to go in directions you don’t want to go. This also means that as an online community we’re producing a broad spectrum of work representing a huge variety of interests, niches, and writing styles.
I’m not a visually artistic person, so my words are my best expression of being. With my writing, I choose to be all in; holding back doesn’t feel true to myself. My identity as a writer is an extension of my identity as a person, and allows me to venture into territory I might otherwise shy away from.
I am writer, hear me roar.
A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing is a mini e-book containing all the knowledge and tricks that I’ve picked up from self-publishing two books. It’s available from the MH@H Download Centre.