I love to write. I've kept a journal since I was seven or eight, and I read "Little House on the Prairie" for the first time. Laura wrote to an imaginary friend and so did I. "Kitty" was that imaginary friend. I told her everything. School drama, family trips, first crushes. As, I grew older, I told her about teen angst, how much I hated my mom, high school drama.
I kept a journal while I was in college. Mostly to remember some event or feeling I had at the time. Journal-writing turned to short story writing, led to poetry writing, led to... a degree in journalism. Then I went back to school and became a doctor.
I still have the journals and notebooks I kept while in medical school and in training. One of my poems was published when I was a senior in medical school. These journals were filled with expectations, hopes, dreams, failures and frustrations.
In 2005, I started blogging on AOL Journals. It was a whole new format. Suddenly, I wasn't just writing for Kitty anymore. I was writing and sharing with a brand new anonymous audience. I didn't think much about what other people thought about. I just needed a platform on which to post my feelings and ideas.
Then Facebook arrived. I could post what I was thinking, when I was thinking it and who I was thinking it with. I started Facebook at about the time I got married, so I was easily able to share wedding photos with friends and family across the country. And, Facebook had a "like" button and a "comment" box. Suddenly, I knew what people liked, what they thought about what I thought.
It became a bit like a drug. I felt like I was writing with a slight lean toward getting approval. Add in my blog posts linked to Facebook, and I had reached a whole new level of positive reinforcement. I write, you like, I write more.
So, when I started NaBloPoMo this month with the idea of posting some creative writing, there was a part of me that was doing it as a mental exercise in getting the cobwebs out of my brain, but I found that another part of me really wanted to see what other people thought about what I wrote... fictionally.
Needless to say I crashed and burned. No one seemed to care. I asked for comments. I cross-posted on both BlogHer and Blogspot and even my usual commentators were suddenly silenced. I linked to Facebook and didn't even get one "like" during the two weeks I posted. Suddenly, it wasn't fun any more. I know people were reading because I could follow the stats. Just, no one said anything.
My exercise in creativity and my belief in my own abilities suddenly hit a very nasty realization. I wasn't writing for me anymore. It was mattering more to me what others thought and getting their approval than what the actual exercise has always intended to be for... me... and Kitty... That anonymous unknown to whom I could tell anything without being worried about judgment or reproach. And, so, I stopped posting my writings. I stopped blogging. I rarely posted on Facebook.
But, now I am back. Because I love to write. Because I want to record and remember the events of my life and my view on them in that moment. But, I return with a new perspective. I'm going to accept my postings just like that line in "To Wong Fu..." by Miss Vida Boheme, "... approval neither desired nor required."