It’s a question other people ask me just as often as I mentally mull over it myself. My friends, cube mates and family members alike know that many of our conversations and interactions transform into blog posts. From a tacos and tequila night to simple phone chats with friends, pretty much anything is up for grabs when it comes to inspiration for Twenties Unscripted.
My writer idols are women like Helena Andrews and Mandy Stadtmiller, both of whom have branded themselves because of their no holds barred approach to their work. They think it and then they write it. My approach is arguably pretty similar. As a writer, you owe honesty not only to your readers, but to yourself. People can smell bullshit from a mile away; they can read it from 100 miles away. People read because they relate and people only relate when you shed.
Beyond concern for your readers, few feelings are more sickening as a writer than when you find yourself dancing around the authentic nucleus of a topic. It is much easier and far more cathartic to just purge and perhaps edit later. Writing is sort of like keeping your bra on during sex–you take off pretty much everything, but maybe leave a tiny something for yourself to augment the mystery. Many times, you’ll get completely naked. But, you can’t ever leave everything on.
That was a shitty analogy. But, we all get it.
Nonetheless, I’ve recently sensed a seismic shift in my identity as a writer while I’ve toyed with the idea of privacy versus vulnerability. Twenties Unscripted has become an archive of my thorny, tragic, ordinary, yet comical journey through early adulthood. It is where I divulge the nitty gritty thoughts that consume my day in hopes that someone else will understand and relate to the sheer ridiculousness of it all. But, when asked recently by a few people if I would start writing about a new situation in my life, I had to respond “No.”
If there’s anything I’ve learned in 23 short years, it is that you have to safeguard some things and some people. Privacy is such a gem in a world where you can expose your every thought to 647 followers thanks to one click. When I think about my “Work On Myself” list (which is of course only mental–I do not yet have a whiteboard for that) one of the items on the list has always been keeping more things private. It’s a bit of a paradox for Tyece, the writer, who takes to her keyboard approximately four days a week to rant, reveal and roar sans inhibitions. I pen confessionals. I atone for my sins one typed word at a time.
But, at rare moments in life, you realize something is important, or will be important, or may be important. So significant in fact that you guard it. It is glass. You feel like your fingertips alone are too strong to hold it; they may crush it. To entrust it to the online world would be to spray paint the Mona Lisa, irreversibly tainting something beautiful.
That’s as much as I can give.
The tightrope between privacy and vulnerability as a writer is one that we often will fall off of. Sometimes, we’ll jump on it intentionally and fall to our circus act death. But, most times, we will consciously and carefully walk the rope, hoping not to cheat our readers, but more importantly, not to cheat ourselves.