Your voice is not representative or relatable.
Real writers can do that. You shouldn’t.
You sound like a character in a postmodern novel.
You can’t write about emotions. You don’t understand them.
If you have to make it public, it becomes a dishonest and selfish cry for attention.
Nobody is interested.
Keep it short.
Don’t be silly.
I did not read your answer.
I don’t care.
I am not a good writer.
I am not even average.
Everybody can do it. Why should I?
Nobody is interested. Nobody cares.
It’s pointless. It won’t do any good to anybody.
I don’t have anything to say.
You have stopped writing for this student newspaper quite a while ago. You have stopped writing altogether. It was probably the single most stupid thing you have ever done and, as the person who regularly swims out too far, gets lost in the woods at least once a month and who once tried to sell her baby brother to her childless neighbours, I can safely say that you have done your fair share of stupid things. The reason you stopped writing was not that fabled beast called – only ever in hushed tones, lest not to wake it – writer’s block. You just somehow went quiet, dark, and scared despite the fact that you would have always had something to write about. The stories would sit in your head, where they would go tired and grey and their apathy would ooze down your spine and spread throughout your whole being.
Talking to people has rarely come easy to you, but writing allowed you to communicate all the thoughts and feelings, opinions and stories, jokes and half-baked ideas, you missed your turn telling the friends you should have made years ago. You’d have always known what to write about, but you were afraid to put the words anywhere where they could be pointed out. Their inadequacy to express thoughts and feelings which were very real to you, but which others have claimed were stupid, dishonest and mere fantasy, recorded and readily available for everybody to criticise and mock.
The time you were not writing anymore, hurt and you would still be quick to claim it was pain beyond words, but that is just another way of retreating back into both, accidentally and ignorantly forced, as well as and above all, self-inflicted silence and censorship. Not writing feels like killing off something very bright and very colourful inside of you and I do believe this matter to be precisely as esoteric and unscientific as it sounds.
You are perfectly capable of using words. You understand your way around most metaphors, even though you can never let go of their literal implications which make it tough to suppress a giggle. “The elephant in the room” becomes visible to you. You consider naming him Steve and you start working out the intricacies of how he fit into that room in the first place and how people would react to a large African animal – for reasons not thoroughly enough explored by science and academia Indian elephants are without exception never sighted in the previously mentioned room-related scenarios – suddenly materializing on their carefully vacuumed living room carpet. Of course you know that it’s a metaphorical elephant in a metaphorical room, but don’t ever take it as a bad thing that you now know his name is Steve. Don’t be afraid to use language. Maybe you do so idiosyncratically at times and not always with the structure or academic rigour one would expect from a university student, but unless you have to actually write a paper for your studies, you should not care anymore and even then you should never be scared into empty pages.
Write honestly and imaginatively. Write clearly and comprehensibly – if people misunderstand you, explain. Everybody can and should be allowed to make lots of mistakes. Don’t be intimidated by the skill, confidence or eloquence of others. Like spiders and small, boisterous dogs most people are just as afraid as you are. Take a deep breath, open your eyes, listen, be awake and write down those thoughts, feelings, stories, jokes, and half-baked ideas. Believe me, I want to read them. There is little use in what solely panders to the currently popular opinion and taste. I want to read about what it feels like to you; what you think. Those characters and stories you carry around inside your head, don’t let them grow tired and grey. Let them out, even if not everything comes together immediately. You have a voice and it should not fall silent just because the people whose opinions you think matter to you, don’t accept it. Please, for everything that is holy in these allegedly godless times, never again stop writing. Instead, keep a diary and really keep it. Don’t give in to embarrassment after twelve pages and throw it away. Fill it to the last page. You will have written a book. Nobody needs to see that book or any of the ones that are to follow, but writing just for yourself to see might help you gain back some of that courage you used to have in regard to writing for a potential audience.
Don’t be afraid of criticism, but review what other people tell you with caution, because just as you are a wonderfully flawed human being, so – I dare go out on a limb here like a fat bird going after that one particularly juicy bark-beetle – are all of us. Everybody can have a bad day or be in need of taking out their own insecurities on somebody they consider weaker than themselves. However, don’t push all criticism aside in today’s spoilt-brat “haters gonna hate” kind of manner. Think about what others tell you and never be too proud to learn or at least gain a more complete and realistic view of yourself and your potential skills and weak points. Making shorter sentences might help you, structure is highly important and it really would be a good idea to finally get a hang of those commas. You have a tendency to write personally, colloquially and emotionally. Not all of your ideas are great and that’s perfectly okay.
We need as many people as possible telling openly and honestly what it feels like to be them, in their skin, with their unique outlook on the world. Grant us a glimpse into your inner world through written word or do so through music, painting, photography or any other means that feel natural to you. Just, please, do never go silent again!