The actor/writer/geekster recently wrote about seven things he did to reboot his life. The second and third items on the list were the ones that caught my eye:
In my opinion you can’t have one without the other. Apparently Wheaton feels the same way:
“I need to read so that my imagination is inspired. I need to read so I get an artistic and creative hunger that can only be fed by writing. I need to read so that I feel challenged to scrape ideas out of my skull and turn them into words and images.
“I became a writer 10 years ago because I not only loved it, but because it was a way for me to express myself creatively in a way that ultimately gave me control over my own destiny and my own life.”
Control over destiny and life. Easy for him to say, right? He can make a living as a writer because he’s got a huge audience (including 2.92 million Twitter followers) who will read/listen to whatever he writes/says. But you know what else he’s got?
Depression. The fear that his success is unsustainable. Maybe a touch of Imposter Syndrome. And, best of all, humility, i.e., an understanding of how random life can be.
Granted, he’s a good actor and an entertaining writer — but the world is full of other people who are just as interesting. Wheaton freely acknowledges the privilege and luck that have helped make his hard work pay off.
Putting yourself out there
Most of us will probably never have the kind of right place/right time combo that gets us to the land of Three Million Twitter Followers. But that’s no reason not to put our heart into our words.
To be clear: There’s nothing wrong with wanting a wider audience. Heck, I’d like one myself. Ultimately, though, you write because it’s in you to write.
As I note in my online course, Write A Blog People Will Read*, you are a writer if you’ve sold articles but you’re also a writer if you haven’t made a dime from your work. (Yet.) You’re a writer if you maintain a blog. You’re a writer if you’re pecking away at the Great American Novel, a memoir or a collection of urban sonnets.
So put yourself out there. Use what you’ve got – ideas, experiences, what you’ve learned thus far – to turn out irresistible storytelling. Dare to share your words and your life.
Do it because it needs doing. That’s probably the only way you’ll create anything that’s true.
They say you should dance like no one is watching. I say you should write like everyone’s reading. Some day maybe everyone will.
*Ready to change the way you write? This link will get you 40% off my online course.