What’s more important – saying something perfectly, or not saying anything at all?
Recently I wrote a blog post for one of my work colleagues and she also happens to be my yoga teacher. I wrote about my experience and reflections having studied Ashtanga yoga for two weeks in Goa, India. You can read my post on the Live and Breathe Yoga website here.
The reason I’m bringing it up is because, as an editor and proofreader, what I have allowed to be published (unedited) could be quite incriminating; however, there’s purpose in me offering this post to be published without the filter of a re-write or second pair of eyes – and that’s what I’m getting at here.
I’ve reread this blog post about eighteen times and each read reveals something else that I would change, improve or delete. The blatant errors stab me in the guts every time too. But I’ve decided that those blemishes are okay because what I have written is pure and honest; and I think that resonates with humans. I wrote this in about thirty minutes of desperate frenzy, after weeks of agonising about it in my head. I almost didn’t write anything at all. And I call myself a writer!
Even editors need editors – I’ve always said that. Writing can always be improved.
But the point is, I wrote something; I shared something profound to me and personal to my experience. I got down on paper and screen something that may have only existed and clogged in the cyclone of thoughts in my head.
It’s in the world now. It’s free. And I feel better for it.
My post is no way near perfect, but as a writer, thinker and creative soul, what is more important than a hugely crafted piece is that I wrote something.
A thought not written down cannot be truly examined and understood.
At Monk script, I work a lot with people who hold back from writing and publishing posts because they do not feel they are writers or capable of properly expressing their thoughts. I am saying that even as someone who identifies as a writer,
it is a strong resistance that must be gently disintegrated, to smash free from that way of thinking.
Oddly enough, yoga teaches to break down the voice of resistance too.
Non-writers tell me,
“I don’t know how to start!”
“I can’t get into the right headspace” and,
“I know what I want to say, but I can’t get it out”.
That’s exactly how I felt writing about yoga and India. I think the subtext of these expressions is that we feel that what we are able to get down is not a perfect piece of literature, or reflection of our feelings, it may be ill-informed as it’s coming straight from the mind, or it may not be ground breaking, new information, relevant or worthwhile.
I push people like this, to write it all any way. I say, “What’s the difference between writing it down, and saying it to someone over coffee, like we’ve just done?” That’s what got finally got me to put this down – I had been thinking about talking about it for too long.
Writing is a process and a practice and everyone’s thoughts and ideas are valid and valuable. We need to actually write, as it’s a process unique to ourselves, to get better at it and to just get stuff out there into the universe. I think it’s healthy to get it out, no matter what the topic.
So yes, this post is about me reconciling the fact that my latest published piece is not perfect. I could have laboured on it, I could have asked Allison to update the post with my changes, or I could have contracted an editor to help me with my draft. But sometimes, the most important thing is to just get your thoughts, however rough – out there.
Rough thoughts, heartfelt ramblings and uninhibited writing can still inspire, still affect and effect, and still spark something in a reader. Perhaps it even reduces the gap between reader and writer. It could change something that makes a positive impact on the world.
If anyone is holding back from getting down on paper or screen something on their chest, just don’t! Get it out of your head, and get it into the world. What’s the worst that could happen?
– Alex Christopher