It took me a lot to let anyone read anything I’ve written. For years I wanted to write, but I kidded myself that I couldn’t, that writing was for writers and I wasn’t one. I never thought about how other writers had actually become writers in the first place. I just allowed myself to be pigeon-holed by the constraints I put on myself, and I listened too much to others who said it couldn’t be done. It’s easier to stay in your box, than put yourself out there and find you make a mistake.
After I stopped drinking I started writing again, but for a long time, once I got back into the habit, I kept it to myself. I was afraid of being judged or saying the wrong thing. I was afraid that no-one would like what I’d written, or understand my point of view. Despite the fact that I’m quite opinionated, I’m also quite a people pleaser. I like to know that I’ve done things that make other people happy, and I was afraid that my opinion, however true might upset others.
Cautiously in the beginning I shared a few tame posts, and the more I shared, the more I felt I could share. It was lovely to receive messages and feedback from those reading and it made me feel that I could carry on.
A few months back I started writing for other people to publish. It’s an honour to have my work shared by others, although it’s even more nerve-wracking than doing something for myself. I understand that when my work is used on other sites it’s representing the site owner too, and so I know that my articles like any other writers, might be ‘tweaked’. I never expect it to be a big deal though, so I was shocked recently to have a piece changed, not in it’s content, but in it’s appearance. I wrote the article about overcoming addictions and I soon received an email to be told it was popular and that it had been renamed to, “A Recovered Wine-o Talks About How She Overcame Her Addiction.” That was a surprise for me, as was the photo they’d used. My photo had been replaced with a picture of a woman with a glass of wine in each hand. It seemed like it was laughing at me and finding amusement in what I had written, while the photo seemed the opposite of the intention of my piece. The title seemed really derogatory and upset me a little to be honest. I was embarrassed that others would think that I had given the piece it’s title, but in time I reasoned that it was probably renamed as an attention grabber. It was just a bit of a shock in the way it was done. A day later the photo had been changed again, and this time it didn’t seem so offensive, so it didn’t bother me in the same way. I wondered if someone higher up didn’t approve?
I understand that by writing for other organisations that I might lose some of the control of my work, but it also makes me wary of who I choose to write for. I have a voice that I want to use for good. I want to help people who were like me, not add to the stigma. However, ‘funny’ some people may find the situation of someone who drinks too much, it isn’t funny for the person in it. I write to show others that that there is a way out. I’m living proof of that, and if I can get out of the hole of addiction, so can plenty of others.
Thanks as always for reading.