When Words Alone Aren’t Enough


I’m sorry for all the less helpful or constructive, more personal posts going up lately. I really am. I’m trying my best to create the best possible content for you. This is a really hard time of year for me. Not an excuse, I know. Some days all you can do is your absolute best, even if it’s not the best you’ve ever done. I’m a perfectionist, but I’m learning, slowly, that it’s okay not to be all the time.

Sometimes, I really struggle with words. I’m better at writing them down than I am speaking them out loud as it is, so when even writing them seems impossible, I’m stuck. It’s not very often that I find myself so out of sorts I can’t even write.

The first thing I do when I wake up, usually, is fill up a few pages in my journal with thoughts. It’s a healthy, necessary activity for me. I don’t post personal things on social media, so it’s how I work through my frustration, confusion, doubt, even excitement and the good kind of anticipation (my favorite emotion).

I know I’m in trouble when even journaling is a struggle.

Mind you, I’m not living a terrible life. I’m really not. The things wearing me down are big things in my head, because that’s how everyone views their own personal tribulations. It’s not about, “Oh, I have it much worse than you.” Or it shouldn’t be, anyway. To you, that thing is your worst thing. To you, it’s an unbearable obstacle, and if you can’t get around it, you have to figure out your own way to work through it.

Usually, for me, words are my way of working through it. Lately, words alone haven’t been quite enough. Toward the end of every year I start looking back into the archives of my life, so to speak, which can be both constructive and destructive. I do it a lot less than I used to. But there’s an anniversary coming up I’m not looking forward to, and as much as I love the holidays, it’s stressful as an adult. Especially when you’re the kind of person who would rather give than receive, worry about others instead of yourself.

People keep asking me what I want for Christmas. I don’t have an answer for them. I want abstract things. For my friends and family to be happy. Energy to keep going so I can continue helping other people. Time to reflect without feeling guilty about it.

I’ve been turning to songwriting (lyrics and music, I studied that a little in school too, as if two degrees weren’t enough) to handle sorting through all these memories, which I haven’t done in a long time. You saw an early draft of one a few weeks ago. It’s weird to me. It’s like writing a poem, but it’s different. It takes words and gives them a completely different feel.

So instead of writing a letter to someone I miss, which I’ve tried and can’t do because I don’t know what to say in what order, I write a song instead. It just flows right out onto the page. I’ve been writing songs for over 10 years (not necessarily good ones), and I still don’t understand how my thoughts and emotions just spill out when I’m putting words to a melody, as opposed to writing straight prose.

Whatever gets you through the day, I guess.

Eventually, when I’m ready, I’m going to start sharing these songs via Storie. I love blogging and talking to cameras (sometimes) and being honest and trying to be helpful, but as a writer and creator, when one form of storytelling doesn’t work, doesn’t satisfy you, doesn’t send the message you want to send, you have to find another way, a better way.

Does that scare me? Duh. It terrifies me. It took me years to work up the courage to blog and share my writing with other people. My music is personal and deep and I don’t like exposing myself that way. But I can’t keep writing posts like this to you because I don’t have another outlet. I need another medium to express the things that are bothering me, so I can focus on helping you write stuff better.

Just know that I’m trying. I’m doing the best I can. You are in my thoughts always. If you have any suggestions about ‘how-to’ or ‘blank ways to write blank’ posts, send them my way, if you can. That would really help me continue to help you over the next few weeks, which is, truthfully, all I want to be able to do. I mean it.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Austin Kirk/flickr.com.

Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

[DISCUSSION] If No One Else Ever Read What You Wrote, Would You Still Write?


When first asked this question alongside hundreds of other writers, probably in a forum somewhere or in a Tumblr thread, I was convinced I knew the answer for sure. Of course I would still write: writing is my life.

But as I learned more about how to separate my different writing styles to fit different audiences and genres of writing, I realized quickly that as much as I would love for others to read what I was writing, no one really was. No one really is now, either. Yet I keep writing. I keep waking up every morning telling myself, “You’re going to write today,” and I always do.

I keep writing, even when no one is reading. Does that mean, if it were guaranteed no one would ever read a single word I wrote ever again, that I would keep writing anyway?

Lately, it’s difficult to say for sure. There is a small flame of satisfaction that burns inside every writer when they get a hit on their website or a compliment in a forum. A comment on an article, good or not so good, at least means someone is reading. That’s often better than nothing. After all, don’t we always write for an audience regardless of where our words are going to end up?

It gets tiring after awhile, writing and writing and writing without feedback or any indicator at all that someone’s paying attention. But as exhausting as it does become day after day, I don’t think writing without a foreseeable audience should be enough to make us stop writing if we’re attached enough to our craft.

Can it be proven that just because no one is reading your work, the universe is telling you that your work isn’t good enough to be read?

No, of course not. And maybe there are writers out there who don’t want anyone to read their work, and go out of their way to make sure it doesn’t happen.

I’m not one of those people, though sometimes I wish I were. I journal every day, though, and that’s my one chance to write only for myself, probably about things I would prefer not to share with an audience. I use that as my private outlet.

But I have my public outlets too—this site and other random places I’ve published articles and blog posts, for the sake of developing my skills and showcasing that I can write anywhere, about anything, that I’m not just stuck in one place writing about the same things over and over again.

If I didn’t have those things, if I only had my journal and kept a blog set to private and never tried publishing anywhere else, would that be enough?

Writing is as much a part of me as any of the tissues and organs (and awesome, DFTBA) that make up my existence. Once, at a point in my life I wouldn’t revisit if you paid the rest of my student loans and future tuition, I stopped journaling. And back then, that and the blog I kept that had an average of 2.5 readers at any given point in time, was all I had.

I wonder, sometimes still, if I stopped writing because I was miserable or became miserable because I stopped writing.

I like to think I’ll never stop writing, even if people stop reading. Which is likely: I’m not always very confident that what I’m putting out there is necessarily helpful to my intended audience all the time, and where audiences are concerned, if they’re not benefiting from the material, they stop seeking it out.

You’re still learning, with every piece of writing you develop, even if you keep it to yourself. You don’t need someone else to be there to critique it or comment on it or share it. Those things only help; they’re not necessary. But I don’t think I would be where I am today, working toward a professional writing career, if I had just one day decided to keep everything to myself.

I don’t write to get noticed, I don’t write for the sake of writing something for the fun of it. I do write to help people, communicate messages and (hopefully) start conversations. So I’ll end this rant with a question. And I think you already know what I’m going to ask.

If no one else ever read what you wrote, would you still write?

Would you still play with words?

Would it still be worth it to you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Or should I say, read your words. Go on. Compose your words of wisdom, as the comment box politely requests. Don’t be shy. I’m not a robot. I really will read what you have to say.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist and Grammar Nazi, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine.  She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has written several creative pieces for Teen Ink. Follow Meg on Twitter. 

Save Novel Plotting for Tomorrow?

I’ve never spent all day studying for a test before. I guess, after today is over, I’m not going to be able to say that anymore.

I mean, no worries, right? It’s just a test. Just five chapters of biology to drill into my brain until my head explodes. But you know what? I’m okay with that. Personally, I’d like to stick to the goals I have written down on the List. One of them is, in case you’ve never looked, to get all A’s this semester. And since we don’t have many grades in bio 100, only tests and maybe a few labs, well…important.

I’m a little sad that I’m going to have to put off more writing until after the test is over tomorrow. I have some really good ideas that I want to get started on. However, I also have a math test next week and a 5-7 minute speech to do on Wednesday. So we’ll see how much writing I actually end up getting done this weekend.

I’ve been writing in my journal a lot (and when I say “a lot,” I mean A LOT), but that’s not the same as outlining a novel. Obviously. But like I mentioned a few days ago: you should never be too busy to write, and should make time. I plan to do that—make time, I mean. Right after I ace my biology test.

Deoxyribonucleic acid, anyone? It’s double-stranded in a helix shape. $9.95.

Love&hugs, Meg♥