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The Freedom of Creative Writing in Obscurity

Through the years I’ve spent a lot of time in the company of writers. Some of them have spent a lifetime writing books, newspaper articles, ghost-written books for others, and all the other things working writers do. Some of them have spent those same years working on the one book that has gnawed at their guts for as long as they can remember. Some of them are new to the deal, writing their first few words, scared to let anyone see their work.

Critique groups, even the most well-intentioned of them, can be ruthless affairs. They often bring out the worst in participants who can’t control their judgmental impulses and who believe it is their duty to slash and burn the writing efforts of others.

“If you think I’m being tough on you, just wait until readers zap your darling book with one-star reviews,” the ogre is likely to say in his own defense.

It’s about that time that I usually say something along these lines to the writer whose hopes of stardom have been dashed. “Don’t worry about it. No one is ever going to read your book anyway.”

I say a thing like that for one simple reason.

Obscurity is a gift to creative writers.

Think of the freedom that comes from knowing you can write whatever you want, that you can express the deepest secrets of your heart without fear of judgment. Or to look at it from another angle, think how obscurity bestows on you the opportunity to get whatever is nagging at you out in the open.

Even if it’s for an audience of one, and that one is you.

Most of what writers scribble on a page never sees the light of day.

Does that stop a writer from writing? If it does, she’s not built for the job. We write because we must.

Think of whatever you write as your private journal. Allow the words to flow from your soul and experience the oneness with your words that surges with the healing power of beauty and unfilteredness.

To hell with the critics.

What do they know anyway?

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