Dear Younger Me: Writing

Dear younger me,

To write is to bleed. There will be nights when your typewriter keys are soaked with blood, dark, sticky, and dripping. Blood metallic and warm on your fingertips. There will be days when your paper is splattered with drops of blood as you rapturously grasp at everything, at nothing. There will be times when the very ink you compose with is blood. Keep writing. This is healing.

Some stories are written

with pen.

Some stories are written

with pain.

You’ve always loved writing, dear, but you have no idea how important it will become to you. Maybe it is because you are infinitely more eloquent and profound when putting your thoughts on paper than when putting them out into the chaotic, distracted space between humans. Writing gives you the ability to say everything you could never speak. Writing becomes your voice, clear and present and Elysian. Your words are beautiful, my love. Pen and paper is your stage, your home-field advantage, both your comfort zone and the platform in which you are challenged most.

And it will challenge you, sweetheart. As much as you love it and as natural as it comes to you, writing is not without its battles. It is the nature of writing that makes it ironically difficult to you. You see, in order to write truly, purely, powerfully, you must bear your soul. Even in fiction, raw emotions, brutal honesty, and complex truths make writing matter. Otherwise, it is counterfeit, tainted, and strained. Vulnerability will always be an uphill battle for you. A paradox of remedying the lack of belonging and fighting the fear of being seen. Wholly, deeply seen. I think that is terrifying for anyone. So many of us have baggage and skeletons and dirty laundry, cracks and sins and imperfections for which we’d rather not be known. It is for these you must be known, dear one, for it is through these that God’s glory will shine. I call writing your stage, but it is the most important place in which you must not act. You must be real, raw, vulnerable. Writing is not acting; it is truthing.



Ernest Hemingway

I still struggle, but you’ll get better. To write is to bear your soul, and you learn to do so beautifully. By beautifully, I mean imperfectly, ungracefully, shamelessly, raw, real, perfect. I know it seems like you’ll never be able to, but you do. You grow. Your depth is what makes you a good writer. You learn. There is still fear and apprehension every time I let someone read my writing, the pouring out of my soul, not because I fear what people think, but because it is a vulnerable, treasured piece of me that another human is laying their thoughts on. But it gets better. And, mercy, my child. It is so freeing. You are most yourself when you write. You are free.

I can’t even describe it. Another paradox of writing is that I can’t put into words the sheer wonders of it. You just absolutely love it, and God is going to use it. Maybe one day you’ll be able to articulate all the emotion and all the truth of writing, but that’s for you to find out.

Words are powerful, my dear. Especially in your hands.

Write well, write true, write kind. Just write.

To write is to bleed, but it is also to heal. You are home among half-blank pages and smudged ink and powerfully arbitrary letters. Writing is one of the few professions in which it is good and acceptable to break the rules. Really, there are no rules in writing. Grammar, diction, syntax can all be manipulated to evoke whichever emotion or mood or thought for which you are seeking. So break the rules. Move people. Write to your heart’s content, my love, then keep writing.

Above all, just write and keep writing, word after word, paragraph after paragraph. You can always go back to refine. But you cannot edit what does not yet exist.

You can edit a bad page.

You can’t edit a blank page.

Jodi Picoult

All my love,


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