Here’s a secret:
When I agreed to start this blog, I had absolutely no idea what I was going to write about.
I didn’t think I had anything worth saying, anything new to add. There were so many blogs already out there, doing awesome work. Everything that needed to be said was being said, and far better than I could think to say it. I liked writing, but I wasn’t a writer. I was passionate about feminism, but I wasn’t some kind of authority or anything. I was just a girl who’d graduated college with no idea of what I wanted to do with my life, living (voluntarily) out of my car with a lot of free time on my hands.
The reason I started writing for this blog – literally the only reason – is that all my friends were doing it.
True story. It was totally a “if-they-all-jumped-off-a-bridge-would-you” situation. Turns out, I would! Take that, Mom.
I had no idea what I was going to write about when we started. And I continued to have no idea, right up until the day before my first post was due. And that night, I sat down and wrote a deeply personal post that cracked me open. Writing that post, my shame, my sadness, my anger, poured out of me and turned into power. I was physically shaking as I hit the ‘Publish’ button with my real name attached.
It was one of the best decisions I ever made.
Writing for this blog has completely changed my relationship to myself, and to the world. It forced me to think more deeply about the issue I care about; it put me in touch with amazing people who are also thinking deeply about those issues; it provided me with a supportive and uplifting community who’ve pushed me forward whenever I’ve stalled out. Writing gave me a safe and empowering way to face my own demons, to describe them and defy them and cut their power over me to ribbons. Writing has taught me to speak up when I see things that make me angry; it’s also taught me to see even more things to be angry about, whatever anyone might say about “angry feminists,” I can only see that as a good thing.
Last month, I was volunteering as a counselor on a spiritual retreat for teenagers, during which I led a workshop on touch and consent and a group discussion about sexuality and gender identity. My only training for leading those workshops was the education I’ve received through my community, most of which has come from this blog. I know I’m far from the most qualified person in the world to speak on those topics, but I was sure as hell the most qualified person in the room. And because writing for this blog has given me experience in speaking clearly and having my voice heard, I had the confidence to know that I was qualified, and to speak up when I saw a role that I could fill.
Those workshops wouldn’t have been offered if I hadn’t been on that retreat, if I hadn’t had the education and experience of this blog behind me. And maybe the existence of those workshops isn’t something that’s going to change the world. But it’s something I’m damn proud of.
Another thing I’m damn proud of: Every single time that someone has said that they were affected by a piece of mine. Every time someone has committed the enormously kind act of letting me know that something I wrote brought them joy, or comfort, or inspiration. People have told me that they read and even re-read my articles as a way to build themselves up and counter negative self-thoughts. And I’m not saying this to try and brag about what a wonderful writer I am, because I still can’t believe that’s real, that I could be so lucky as to get to play that kind of role in someone’s life, because in the moments when I get to learn about that kind of connection I can’t imagine anything better that I could have spent these (many, sometimes frustrated) hours on. I am sharing this with you because a little over a year ago, I didn’t think I had anything worth saying.
I want to offer this to everyone who has ever thought about writing for a blog, but hasn’t because they don’t think they have anything to say:
Get yourself a free WordPress or Blogger or Tumblr and lock down a URL that you like. Write an “about” section. Look up how to pitch submissions to your favorite blogs. Do that leg work, and set yourself a totally arbitrary deadline, and just try to write something.
PS – Did I mention that we are currently looking for new writers?
The more you think of yourself as a person with a voice that has thoughts worth sharing, the more those thoughts will come to you. The more you get in the habit of putting those thoughts into the world, the lower the barriers will be the next time you get really pissed off or sad or excited or get a kick-ass phrase stuck in your head. And it gets that much easier to write something that could change your life – or someone else’s.