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Argh. I did it again. I started last week’s piece intending to discuss my feelings around AI and how complicated technology has gotten, and I ended up writing a term paper on writing groups.

Why am I doing this? 

I feel like I’ve turned into some student robot who can only turn in class assignments. Like I’m afraid to share opinions or be vulnerable about an idea – which is funny because people who know me will most likely say I’m not shy about sharing my views when I speak.

But putting something in writing is like putting a stake in the ground. It lasts forever, especially with today’s digital technology. That’s one of the reasons I write books – I love the thought that my words will remain forever. So how come I’m struggling to be vulnerable?

I want to figure this out. After some research and sitting on a cushion, I came up with a few reasons I might be stifling myself. They are:

  • Fear of being judged and criticized, i.e., fear of rejection
  • Fear of being misunderstood
  • Thinking no one would care or read my work
  • Believing I have nothing to contribute

OMG, I’m still letting the kids from junior high and high school get to me! I’m still playing small. I still have low self-esteem. I’m still afraid to show the world who I am.

Okay, things aren’t quite that bad. But there are still shades of fear in how I present myself to the world. So my quest is to learn to express myself from the inside out. I don’t know how I’ll do it, but I’m determined to find a way. Maybe improv classes will help.

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Why We All Need to Share Our Thoughts and Opinions

Opening up, being vulnerable, sharing ourselves – it’s all important to living our lives to the fullest. Some reasons I think we should be more open:

  • Connection. I want to connect with others. I want to feel part of the world. And, for me, the only way to do that is through words. Words have the power to bring people together – and to rip them apart. Words connect. And as humans, we’re built to connect. If you want to find your tribe, be yourself. They will find you.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI). Writers will soon need to shift from more technical, how-to explanatory writing to sharing opinion and thought pieces because of AI. We’ll need to include our personality in our words. I’ll finish my article about that soon, but, in short – AI is already writing general how-to-type articles and is doing a pretty good job at it. And not to freak you out, but AI is already starting to share feelings and thoughts. It’s learning faster than developers ever thought. Trust me, it’s scary. And I will terrify us all shortly.
  • Mental Health. Bottling up emotions is a breeding ground for disease and dysfunction, so it helps all of us to be more open about our feelings, whether in writing or through speech.
  • You’ll feel better. You might feel embarrassed or ashamed when you post, but you’ll feel great when you realize the sun is still coming up every morning. And you’ll feel even better if you get support and positive feedback.
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How to Be More Vulnerable In Your Writing

A couple ideas on how to open up more in your writing:

  • Take a deep breath and do it. We’re all scared of something. Open up to your truth and get it on the page. You might surprise yourself and find others who feel the same. You don’t have to share it with anyone when you start. Just get used to putting your feelings on paper.
  • Free write. Don’t censor yourself, and get your thoughts down without stopping. You can edit later.
  • Read. Find writers you love who write openly. Let them inspire you.

Hmmm. Seems I turned my opinion piece into a bit of a listicle, so I’ll consider this a half-and-half piece. Forward progress, but I’ve got a ways to go before I can find words to make you laugh and cry. Stay tuned. It’s coming. Hopefully. Oh, dear….