You Cannot Cure Impostor Syndrome — But You Can Learn to Thrive Despite It

You’re not alone, and this is not the end.

Do you ever feel like what you’re writing isn’t good enough no matter how hard you worked on it?

If you do, then congratulations — you’re normal! Well. Sort of.

Everyone lives with this feeling at least every once in awhile related to their work, especially creatives. But those who deal with it often — almost in everything they do, no matter what — have what’s known as impostor syndrome.

Basically, this just makes you feel inadequate no matter what. You could work on writing and re-writing a novel for three years, and it could be one of the best things an agent has seen in the past decade — they could say this to your face — and part of you would still believe they were lying.

Even Viola Davis — brilliant, Oscar-winning MADE-OF-AWESOME Viola Davis — looks at her Oscar and feels like she doesn’t deserve it. Oh, she knows she does. But there’s that voice, that obviously false belief that you’re faking your expertise and you don’t even know it.

If Viola is still on this Earth feeling like she’s not good enough despite her many creative achievements, then I hate to break it to you … but you’re doomed.

Well. You’re never going to get over your impostor syndrome, at least.

But impostor syndrome isn’t something you just “get over.” You can train yourself to be more confident, you can refine your skills, you can start to succeed and listen to others tell you how good you are at what you do. But there will always be a very small voice inside your head telling you it’s all fake.

So writing despite your impostor syndrome isn’t about finding a “cure.” It’s about learning to live with it and thrive despite it. You will never be a good judge of whether or not something you write is worthy of publishing. So you will either have to suck it up and post it anyway, or you will have to hire someone to do the judging for you at some point.

You will very rarely look at a finished piece of writing and think, “Wow, all that hard work was worth it — this is great!” You will have those moments, of course — impostor syndrome is not the exact same as chronic self-consciousness. But when you reread what you’ve written, that doubt will likely find its way back to you. It is inescapable, but that does not mean you cannot succeed anyway.

Do your best to give compliments a chance. And take them with a smile and genuine gratitude. When someone tells you, “This is amazing!” Do not say, “Oh, it’s not that special.” Say, “Thank you, I’m glad you think so.” Even if you don’t fully believe they’re telling the truth. Honestly, strangers don’t typically go out of their way to compliment others if there’s nothing to compliment. It’s not very likely that someone will come up to you and shower you with praise unless they genuinely mean it.

And editors? They’ll tell it to you straight. They’ll give you the good and the bad. They want you to succeed. The good things they’re saying stand out as good things. Recognize, as much as you can, that feedback means you can still do even better than you already are.

And as always, never let impostor syndrome talk you out of doing something you want to do. Being terrified means you’re on the right track. Nobody ever starts out doing anything exceptionally well. Start from the bottom and work your way up, just like everyone else. You’re not imperfect — you’re just always improving. Force yourself to believe it’s worth the effort, even in the moments you don’t want to. You won’t be sorry you stuck with it.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

This Week, Write About Someone You Have Lost

Everyone has lost someone.

Everyone has lost someone at some point, in some way. Loved ones pass away. Friends fade. Romances cease to exist.

This makes loss one of the most relatable subjects in storytelling.

It’s not fun to think about, it’s usually not funny. But not all relatable things are.

What makes loss such a powerful starting point for a story? For one thing, everyone deals with their grief differently. No two characters have the same reactions, the same coping mechanisms. You could write a dozen stories about grief and not produce two that are remotely similar.

For another, if I were to suggest to you, “Write about a person you’ve lost,” you can’t come back with the “I don’t have anything to write about” excuse so many aspiring writers use.

Everyone has something to write about here. It doesn’t have to be about death. It doesn’t even have to be about a person. One time I found a worm in our garden, and that worm was my best friend for about five minutes, but I dropped him on the ground accidentally and never found him again. A major childhood tragedy, let me tell you.

See? I could write an entire story about that stupid worm (RIP). You have a lot of weird and random memories up there in your brain. You also have very strong and not quite so laughable ones, that’s true. My last year of college, I lost two very significant people in my life, six months apart.

Recalling your own grief, and writing about it — you’re not faking emotion there. It’s the perfect way to practice writing a story about or from the perspective of a character who is grieving. When you do things like that, you have to draw from your own real-world feelings. That is how you convey the kind of emotion in a story necessary for readers to draw connections between a fictional person and their real lives.

Those are the kinds of stories people love. Stories they can read that make them think of themselves. It’s not selfish. It’s human nature. “You” is a known tool for writing an effective title or headline. People love to know that something someone else is writing relates back to them somehow.

So that’s what I encourage you to do this week: write about someone you’ve lost. I’ll do it, too. It can be funny; it can be serious. You can show it to someone or post it on your own blog or website, or you can keep it to yourself, if it’s private. My hope is that it inspires you to continue writing about yourself as a means of getting into the right mindset to tell stories about fictional people … for real people to read.

Try it out. See what happens. Maybe you’ll get a new idea for a story. (Sorry in advance…)

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

The Clock is Ticking — Are You Writing?

Are you wasting time?

Today I came to the terrifying realization that 2017 is basically almost halfway over.

This is not OK.

I have accomplished five — FIVE! — of my 2017 goals. And there are a LOT more than five things I want to get done before this year ends.

I almost started to panic. I mean, I have so much more to read. And so many more blog posts to write. And I watched, like, 2 seasons of a show on Netflix last weekend. That’s not productive.

Granted, I’d spent 60+ hours writing that week. I needed a break …

… right?

In terms of goal milestones, I am not where I wanted to be by June 1.

But I constantly have to remind myself, as I try extremely hard not to start biting my nails, that when I wrote these goals down back in January, I had no intention of getting hired to write full-time. I had no plans to move downstate (in progress). And I had no idea I would be writing as much every week, on top of everything else, as I am right now.

Sometimes, you have goals. And it seems like you’re not accomplishing those goals. But goals are not concrete. Maybe we need to learn to mold them to fit into our circumstances. I will probably not finish writing both of my unfinished novels this year, because honestly, I just don’t have time. I want to. And I’m going to try to. But it’s likely no longer an achievable goal.

Guess what? Not accomplishing a goal isn’t actually the end of the world …

… however.

We don’t set goals so we’ll feel better about ourselves.

We set them to motivate ourselves to get to work. Writing — a verb — is the most important thing you can do, as a person who fits words together for fun. If you are not actively writing, you aren’t getting anything done. But as long as you’re writing, you’re winning. It’s not a matter of how fast you accomplish something, but the time and effort you put into getting closer and closer to the finish line.

I am writing. You are writing. We are “working on it.” Sometimes I spend time writing things I don’t have much interest in. Sometimes I write things I never look at again after turning away from them. It’s all part of the journey. You will never grow if you do not write something.

So go ahead. What are you waiting for? Write something. Anything. A letter to your imaginary friend. A chapter of a book you haven’t touched in six months. A poem, a song, a haiku — who cares what it is. The only time you’re wasting is the time you’re spending not writing. Gooooogogogogogogogo.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Online, Everything You Post Is a First Impression

Think before you publish.

Before you post that comment on Facebook —

Before you write that caption on your Instagram photo —

Before you hangrily reply to that email —


If this were the first thing your future editor saw, what would it say about you?

Because “my privacy settings protect me” doesn’t say much. You should never assume that anything you post online is private. If they’re not already teaching this in school, they should start soon.

These same rules apply to professional writing, you know. Even if you’re not “a professional” yet. While it’s true that many of your clients and editors will focus on reviewing your writing samples, you also should never assume that they won’t also Google you or stalk you on social media. And if you’re applying for a “real” writing job — guess what? It works the same way as any other job. If your online presence isn’t clean, you’re not moving on to any stage of the hiring process.

But this isn’t even just about what you post personally or the tweets that come from your “professional” account. What you write and publish also makes a difference. You can either let it ruin your chances of success, or you can use it to your advantage.

Hiring managers don’t tell you why they picked you, the same way editors won’t always disclose why they selected your piece over someone else’s. But your online presence has almost everything to do with it these days. If you can’t prove you’re worthy online, why should anyone pick you to publish anything under their brand?

Every single time I publish something — here, or on behalf of any other publication I contribute to — I consider who’s watching. Not just the people I hope my words are helping, but also those who might be tracking my work specifically. In no way am I saying I’m anywhere near awesome enough for someone to spend valuable hours doing that (ha). But what’s the most important rule on the internet? You never know who’s reading or why.

I do not publish viral-worthy essays about my personal life. Many people do, and many of them do so for good reasons, like helping or inspiring others. But I do not need the entire world knowing every single thing that makes me vulnerable or could someday be used against me somehow. The harder it is for people to find that stuff by searching online, the better.

I do not comment on articles or social media posts unless doing so is, essentially, beneficial for my career. If I have insightful comments to make about a new nutrition study that’s being reported on, for example, I will do that — it is a credibility booster (if you do it correctly and for the right reasons).

I find no value in talking about myself online unless it’s somehow beneficial for a very carefully selected audience. Because if I’m trying to get a book published at some point, and people are looking for reasons to trust me, I’d rather give them reasons to do so, not provide them with reasons to reconsider me.

It’s just an example. But sometimes I look at things people post online, even under obviously fake names, and I wonder what makes them think it’s ever OK to do that. Do most people just feel completely safe on the internet and assume they’re fine?

If you want to impress a potential editor, agent, or client, the most important thing to remember is that everything you post online counts as a first impression. You never know who’s paying attention. Though I hate to say it, because I’m all about transparency, as a writer, you’re under an obligation to act as your best self online as much as possible. Especially when you’re trying to get hired to do any kind of writing job.

Be mindful. Be yourself, but think before you publish. Always.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Why Books Are the Best Gifts to Give

You never have to wonder what you’re going to give someone.

Mother’s Day and my dad’s birthday fell within a day of each other this year. So last week, I made a bold choice: I dared to dive deep into the abyss that is shopping for books online, knowing I could not, and would not, be getting anything for myself.

It was a much more rewarding experience than I expected. Shopping for books for other people doesn’t come with quite the same kind of excitement as getting something for yourself. You know what you like and what you want. But shopping for another person, you’re faced with dozens of books they might like, and you’re forced to decide which one they’ll love the most.

I find the best test of how well you know someone is to pick out a book for them. Because buying a book for someone can have a multitude of purposes. Is someone you know interested in learning more about something? Get them a book about it. Are they looking for a good mystery? Buy them a mystery novel. Are they dealing with something personal? Get them a book that tells stories of hope.

I don’t think it’s possible to disappoint someone with a book. Neither my dad nor my brother are huge readers, but they’ve never been disappointed opening up a book from me. A book says, “I know you might not read this, but I thought this story might interest you and got it for you because I care.” My book-hoarding friends love to get books they don’t have to pay for (books are expensive!). People who don’t love to read will still find joy in receiving a book about a subject they could talk about for hours on end.

Though I’m certainly not one of them, there are people out there who read a book once and then give it away. That’s almost even better — not only does one person get to enjoy a story, but then they get to pass it on to someone else who can experience it. And then they can pass it on … and so on.

A book isn’t just used once or for a short time and then thrown away. It’s an experience many people can benefit from, not just one. Books don’t become outdated — you don’t get rid of one book to replace it with a newer model. And, possibly my favorite thing about books: once you’re done reading them, if you don’t give them away, they become decorations. My bookshelves are not full of forgotten pages. They’re a display of all the places I’ve been, all the people I’ve met, all the adventures I’ve had. And I know I’m not the only one who feels this way (give a shout-out!).

Not everyone loves to read every genre of books. But books are versatile — there’s something out there for every person. I never have to wonder what I’m going to get someone. I only have to consider which type of book, which individual story, I’m going to gift them this year.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Why We Share Stuff Without Reading It First (and Why It Matters)

Don’t hit “share” just yet.

I know we’ve all done this at least once. Today, I realized I do it at least once a month.

Yes. Even I sometimes catch myself sharing articles online before I’ve read them — or without even reading them at all.

I’m not proud of it. But I think it’s important that we acknowledge that we are all part of a much bigger internet-centric problem.

Because while it’s true that shares give writers’ work more exposure, it does nothing if nobody actually clicks on the article. And even that is pointless, at least to a writer, if no one reads the content associated with that link.

I am a person who informs for a living, and sometimes, I share things without being informed. That’s not cool. It’s setting a terrible example and goes against everything I stand for as an internet creator.

So why do I — why do we — do this? Why do we share before we read, or instead of reading altogether?

Maybe, deep down, it’s because we’re more interested in having immediate interactions and conversations with our friends than taking the time to read a 500-word article. Not everyone is like this, but many of us are. It’s not because we don’t want to read what’s in front of us. Sometimes, we fully intend to read something … eventually … and we honestly just never get around to it.

Many of us also want to feel like we’re part of something bigger — so when we see our friends sharing things and adding their own commentary to them, our first instinct is to share right along with them, even if we don’t have anything to add (yet).

Also, many writers are told that an online presence is worthless if you’re only sharing your own content — especially on Twitter. Many of us, myself included, feel increased pressure to retweet things to show we’re “in the know” — yes, again, often without reading what we’re about to distribute.

We know it’s wrong. Yet we do it because, honestly, we’re not perfect. We give into the temptation to treat headlines as one-sentence summaries — though now more than ever, that’s far from their purpose. We trust that a featured image and a short excerpt tell us all we need to know. We’re so eager to show our friends how “current” we are that we sometimes end up never actually participating at all — because we’ve done nothing to support an article’s author at all.

Many companies measure their writers’ success based on views. Clicks. Social media interactions are usually a completely separate metric. And honestly, if we’re not actually taking the time to read what’s being written … can we really expect people to read what we’re working so hard to create?

Do you feel guilty now? Good.

This isn’t just me telling you how horrible you are. We can all do better. I’m going to try my hardest to start using Facebook’s “save” function more often — so that I won’t be tempted to share a piece of writing before I’ve gotten the chance to read it just so I won’t forget about it. I’m going to try not to share something unless I have a specific reason for doing so (other than sharing for the purpose of sharing).

I’m going to try to break this terrible habit in my own life. And I hope you’ll start taking steps toward doing the same in yours. If we all do, maybe things will change. That’s how change works. A bunch of individuals decide to actively participate in the solution to a problem on their own time.

Writers deserve to be read. We can’t walk around frustrated with our own pageviews if we’re not appreciating the work of others. It’s time to do your part.

Click. Read. Absorb. And when you share, point out what was most valuable to you about this experience. Set a good example for your followers and friends. You didn’t write it. But someone else did.

We can make a difference. We don’t have to be part of the problem anymore.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

It’s OK to Be Terrified of “Then.”

It’s OK to dream.

While preparing for college, I vividly remember planning out the next five years of my life down to the most insignificant details.

As you can guess, seven years later, absolutely nothing has turned out the way I planned.

I don’t have a novel published, I didn’t meet the love of my life on a small private school campus (that I know of). I didn’t graduate in three years, I’m not living in New York City, and if I could remember anything else from that dream of a plan, I can probably guess I was wrong about it, too.

I don’t mind that things didn’t turn out the way I wanted them to. I’m happy with where I am, as of 2017 — 2010 me was naive, and that’s OK.

But there’s one unfortunate side effect of having so many good things happen that you didn’t expect.

You start to find it harder to make long-term plans.

I know that, eventually, I’d like to publish a novel the traditional way. Or get around to trying to, at least. But I haven’t made a plan. I don’t have a “when.”

I know that, at some point, I’d like to transition into some kind of editing role at my job. But I don’t know when. And I haven’t thought much about how I’m going to get there (yet).

I know I want this blog to keep growing. But I’m very bad at planning posts and things in advance.

Part of it is, honestly, because I’m afraid of being disappointed.

Aren’t you?

Don’t you want to want to take the first steps required to get that book published … but you just haven’t yet, because there’s a possibility it will never happen?

Is that what stops just some of us from making plans — or all of us?

I’m not afraid to admit I’m terrified of my dreams never coming true. Don’t get me wrong — many of them already have. But there are also plenty I’ve put to the side, unsure if I’ll ever pick them back up again.

Like my guitar. Will I ever take it out of its case again? Will I ever, finally, learn to play it?

Or my YouTube channel. It’s dead. Forever? Who knows.

It’s not that I want to spend my whole life expecting that things won’t happen. If you work hard enough, things are going to happen to you one way or the other, and they’re going to be good things — whether you dreamed of them or not.

But … what if that one thing you wanted so desperately … never happens?

You know, logically, the world won’t stop spinning. You’ll find your place, your niche, your specialty, your “thing.”

Yet that fear is always lurking around. What if I never? What if I fail (again)?

We’re writers. We’re bad at making long-term goals because we’re terrified of the future.

But we can overcome that. Sort of.

I find that writing about how I hope my life will turn out five, 10 years from now becomes less scary the more I do it. It’s not something I’m going to show anyone — it stays with me and only me. But it’s therapeutic. It shows me what could be, and what might not be — and that makes me less afraid.

Not everything is going to happen the way you want it to.

But it’s still OK to dream about where you hope you’ll end up. As long as you keep working hard for what you want, no matter how things turn out in the end.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

For Anyone Who Still Regrets Not Doing That One Thing

It’s not too late.

In college, I had the opportunity to present a paper at a writing conference.

I turned the offer down.

At the time, it was the right thing to do, for personal reasons. But though it’s such a small thing, and I’m not writing academic literary analyses as part of my job description five years down the line, every once in awhile, I find myself wishing I’d done it.

Why? Because not many people get to say they’ve had that kind of experience? Because to this day that’s still one of the best papers I’ve ever written?

I had a chance to showcase my writing skills to hundreds of writing professionals. But I didn’t take it.

It hasn’t altered the course of my career (that I know of) and it’s not something I think about on a daily basis. But it will always be one of those things from the college era of my life I will most likely always say, “I wish I’d done that.”

I have a feeling I’m not the only one here who has a small regret like this. But I want you to know that’s OK. The past is confusing — especially when we don’t fully understand how the things that did or did not happen then have shaped what’s going to happen next. If it ever will.

These things you weren’t able to do when you had the chance … I understand why they hurt. But if you really take the time to think about it, you’ll realize they really shouldn’t have to anymore.

Not because you’re not allowed to feel a little sad when you reflect on the ups and downs of your life, but because, for most of us sitting here reading this, life is far from over.

There’s still time to do the things you didn’t do before.

Maybe I’ll never be able to present an essay to a bunch of literature nerds. But that doesn’t mean I won’t get to share my work live with an audience in some capacity at some point.

Just because you didn’t write for your school paper doesn’t mean you’ll never write for a publication ever again.

Just because you didn’t submit to x writing contest doesn’t mean you might not become a finalist in another, or something similar.

I don’t want to spend my whole life regretting small things that didn’t or couldn’t happen. And I don’t think you do either. There is still time. Granted, we have to figure out how to make the most of it — but I prefer to believe that sometimes, something doesn’t happen when you think it will because you’re going to have a much better experience doing something similar later on.

You’re no longer in control of your past. And though you’re not in complete control of your future, what you do in the present, in large part, is up to you. “Never” isn’t an option. The only thing you should be wondering is, “When?”

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

This Weekend, Write Something That Makes You Angry


“Don’t post something when you’re angry. You might say something you’ll regret.”

This is excellent advice to follow as your cursor hovers over the post button on your Twitter or Facebook page. And in some cases, it can still apply to more traditional writing — you shouldn’t submit something that you wrote when you were mad enough to USE ALL CAPS, or whatever the digital equivalent is of pressing down so hard with your pen that you put a hole through the paper. (Don’t pretend like it’s never happened to you. We’re all human.)

I want you to try an experiment. I want you to try writing something that makes you feel angry.

It sounds weird. But trust me — it’s a writing prompt you won’t regret exploring.

Anger is a powerful emotion. Used in the right way, it becomes a tool instead of a weapon.

When something happens in the world and it makes me mad, I write about it. Sometimes it comes out making me sound like a whiny, offended-by-everything millennial (am I?) and I leave it in my computer’s hard drive to die. Sometimes I argue much better when I’m ticked off than I do at any other time (I’ll take it), and my prose becomes an essay (maybe) worth publishing somewhere.

When you’re angry, it means in some way you’re passionate about something. Something has happened to you or someone you know or a stranger, and you want it to change. So you decide you need to vent about it. And sometimes, that venting somehow transforms into a persuasive piece of writing that has just the right amount of emotion behind it to drive a point home.

Writing about something that angers you, even if only just for practice, establishes a different kind of motivational root as you start typing. When I get into discussing something that ticks me off (e.g., gluten free diets for people who don’t need them), I find myself trying harder than usual to find, interpret, and communicate the evidence, scientific, anecdotal, whatever, to give my voice credibility.

You want people to listen to you. More than that, you want people to understand where you’re coming from. To respond to a call to action. To change their minds, maybe. To stand with you against unnecessary gluten-free diet hypes, or whatever it is you’re passionately furious about.

If I’m angry about something, I write about it. Sometimes it stays in my journal and it never sees the world. Sometimes it makes it into a blog post (but not this one) and I filter out all the whining. Sometimes I’ll draft a post on Facebook and I won’t publish it — because the simple act of putting words where I wish they could go, even if it’s not appropriate to put them there, makes me feel better.

Your anger is not something to fear. It’s an asset you, as a writer, can learn to use to your advantage. Plus, practice makes you more likely to win in an argument with someone who really needs to lose at something for once. All in good fun, of course. Maybe.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

For Those of You With Small Voices

Your words matter.

At the beginning of this year, I told my Facebook friends that one of my goals was to “say how I feel.” It’s something I’ve never been good at — and for me, 2017 is a year of growth and improvement.

This has not been an easy goal for me to keep up with … because I am “the quiet girl.”

I am a shy person. Not all writers are shy, and not all shy people like to write. But I write because I am shy — because it takes me a long time to organize my thoughts before I’m comfortable making them public.

The problem with growing up ‘quiet’ is that people learn to ignore and talk over you without doing so intentionally. They just assume you’re either not interested in adding to the conversation or you don’t have anything ‘important’ to say.

At least, that’s my experience.

I’m not mad about it. Technically, it’s my own fault. Shyness isn’t something you “get over,” but you can train yourself to assert your ideas when needed. I just never really took the time to learn that.

So there are days, as I’m sure some of you have experienced in your own lives, when I feel like nothing I have to say matters. I keep a lot of thoughts to myself. I like to listen more than I like to contribute — but often when I do try, still, my words don’t seem to have meaning to anyone who isn’t me.

This is why I write. This is why I spend hours every day researching the facts behind what I say. Because journalism is about finding the unique angle in a trending idea. You’re adding your unique perspective onto something people have been hearing about all day/week/month.

Yet through that, I’ve started to learn that it doesn’t matter where or what I’m publishing — whether it’s an article for an organization or a Facebook post on my personal page. Just because not everyone cares about my facts or opinions doesn’t mean they’re worthless.

Stop letting yourself think your words don’t mean anything. Even if they’re meaningful only to you, that’s still significant.

When you feel like you don’t have anything important or unique to say, you should speak your mind anyway. You should write down what’s on your heart even if there’s no “wow” factor associated with it. If you silence yourself every time you think your voice is too small to matter, you’re never going to build up the courage to speak up when it matters most.

Your. Voice. Matters. I’m still learning this lesson. You can start, too. Yes, our words have consequences. But that doesn’t mean you have to live in fear of every thought you’re tempted to write or say. Sure, in some cases, staying silent is the best alternative. But when you can — any way you can — raise your voice. Make yourself heard. Maybe only one person will listen. Maybe 423 will. Who knows? You’ll never know until you step up and speak your mind.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.