PSA: Back up your writing

PSA: Back up your writing

The heart attack I just had (figuratively of course) when my computer wouldn’t turn on and instead was just staring at me, stuck on a grey page with a spinny wheel of death for a solid twenty minutes was enough to make me FINALLY back up the story I’ve been writing.

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YOU DON’T KNOW FEAR UNTIL THIS HAPPENS

I hate that part in the writing process where I finally have to admit, out loud, it’s a story. Because that means I’m growing attached. I’m falling in love with the characters and the setting and the plot (which still needs a lot of work), but it’s all coming together slowly but surely. I’ve been in the denial process for awhile now. It’s just a “bit of personal writing”. It’s “nothing”. It’s me “expressing myself”. Uhm, no. It’s a story and when I thought all 30+ pages of words were lost to a blank, empty grey page, I wanted to bawl.

Tears were at the brim of my eyes when the computer did decide to go to my home screen and allow me to find the document, fully intact and unharmed. Of course, it was uploaded to my Google Drive and external hard drive immediately because I’m not about to go through that loss again.

I’m also not ready for the loss of inspiration, the loss of what to say next, and the feeling of loss when the story isn’t good enough to be the “real deal”…which is why I’ve avoided ever talking about this hobby of mine.

“I love writing,” I tell people.

And when they instinctively ask, “Oh what do you write?”

Suddenly I’m embarrassed and not good enough to call myself a writer. “Oh I blog, wrote a lot in school, do some journaling, you know.”

I want to say it. It’s at the tip of my tongue. I can feel myself excited about my current idea, the character development, the intricate setting, but instead I tell them I blog. I journal. I write articles. Because God forbid I admit I write stories and I have since I was about 7 years old. That I create characters with as much history and background as any person standing next to me in real life. That ideas come to me in dreams, while driving my car, at work in the middle of filling out of an order or planning a campaign.

I have a writer’s brain, because I am a writer. I’ve never been published, and I don’t have any awards for writing. This hobby is mine and mine alone. But for the first time in my life, I’m realizing it’s still valid. I have potential and drive. I’m not sure if I’ll ever see my dream become a reality, but that doesn’t make me any less of a writer.

So save the document you’re pretending is just a “silly little thing”. Seriously. Do it. Right now. Maybe it’s not writing you’re into. Maybe it’s poetry, or music production, or graphic design, or photography, or whatever thing you love to do but are too scared to label yourself as such. I’m no poet, no artist, no photographer, no writer, etc.

Actually you are.

Whatever you’re creating is valid and it matters, and so do you. Be proud of your work and call yourself whatever label you see fit. Your only critic, MY only critic, is the one looking at me in the mirror.

I am a writer.

“I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I’m afraid of.”

– Joss Whedon

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