I was reading a blog post the other day, and it impressed me how the blogger was able to put her innermost thoughts and feelings out for people to see. It conveyed an honesty and transparency which are always missing from my posts. Why is that? Why do I struggle with expressing myself in my writing? Isn’t that what writing is all about?
I even notice this issue when writing in my private journal. As a private person, I recognize my difficulties being open in a public forum. But it takes an idiot like me to be so worried about my “secret” thoughts between the covers of my private journal!
I’m sure part of the problem is my line of work. I work in a secretive industry. Before we can engage with a client or vendor, we have to execute a confidentiality agreement between the companies. It is an understood component of how we work. We also don’t mention client names or types of projects. To this day, I won’t say client names I worked with 30 years ago that are no longer in business. And I’m not alone, most of my co-workers are the same way.
As a long-time manager/director, I learned to keep my opinions to myself in group settings. By not drawing a line in the sand, I could be flexible in my approach and work with the team to create consensus. Of course, now I’m a CEO I still use that technique, but I also worry about writing anything personal, confrontational or controversial because of concerns it will be traced back to me. I can’t jeopardize business for personal opinions. My company has a lot of employees. A lot of mouths could go hungry if I go on a rant, and somehow a client gets wind of it, dislikes my position,and connects it back to me and dislikes my position.
There is also the thought I’m just too banal to have anything profound or personal to use as subject matter for my writing. Trust me, the skeletons in my closet wouldn’t feed a chihuahua. As I look at my life, I’m sure it looks pretty dull to most people. That’s never bothered me. Dull means no drama and no chaos. If it also means no excitement, that’s a fair trade in my book. But even if all I have are small, boring problems, I should still be able to write about them. It will just be short, boring blog posts!
Ultimately my issues are less about job or lifestyle and more about personality. I’ve always been someone who holds my thoughts and feelings close to the vest. As an introvert, I’m just more comfortable not sharing. Anominity is the introvert’s protective shield. It makes it easier to avoid being the center of attention. And if no one remembers what you think, then they won’t remember you. So I know my struggle to express myself is a mental block of my own making. But to improve my writing, I know I need to find my voice; I feel it inside me and it needs to come out. It doesn’t matter if others think my words are interesting or pay attention to them. I just need to put them out there.