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I would ask them to tell about some childhood memory, that is, to write it as carelessly, recklessly, fast and sloppily as possible on paper. […] Their only effort became to tell spontaneously, impulsively, what they remembered.

And I asked for childhood experiences for this reason. A child experiences things from his true self (creatively) and not from his theoretical self (dutifully), i.e. the self he thinks he ought to be. That is why childhood memories are the most living and sparkling and true.

From If You Want to Write

I often feel a lot of anxiety before publishing a post. Why? Mostly because I know that I have blog subscribers and they will (hopefully) be reading the post that I’m agonizing over. I worry about my tone, whether or not what I’m saying could be misunderstood, and if I will offend anyone. It’s embarrassing to admit that I can feel that self-conscious when writing, but it’s true.

This kind of over-thinking and self-censorship completely hinders my ability to write well. In the words of Brenda Ueland, the woman who wrote If You Want To Write, I’m writing from my “theoretical self,” the adult self that worries about what other people think. Good writing is honest, not contrived or safe.

Do you ever feel like you’re holding yourself back? If so, how do you work past it? If you’d like, I encourage you to give Ueland’s writing exercise a shot: pick a childhood memory and write freely. After you’ve written it, think back to how you felt and ask if the process felt any different from how you usually feel when typing away. If you make your childhood memory public, be sure to share it in the comments. (That’s where I’ll be sharing mine and I’d love to see yours!)

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  1. Voila! http://wp.me/p1aEOE-nz

    I definitely felt different writing this 🙂 For me, writing something that’s more creative by nature is much easier in terms of getting everything out, but I worry about sharing things that are personal. Realizing that I love to read stuff like this on other people’s blogs is a big help.

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    1. well i tend to feel the same like u 🙂
      my blog i s mostly about personal stuff, memories and thoughts and all 🙂

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  2. And, yes – it does feel different. I don’t feel so much pressure to use better adjectives or adverbs, or flowery synonyms. I write it just as I remember it, then revise to “adultify” it. I like the process much better than writing my serious posts. I need to find a way to integrate the two. Thanks for asking!

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  3. I know exactly what you mean about feeling self conscious, I start off my blog as you say like a child, from my inner self and then I go back over it again and again because I’m so afraid that what I’ve written won’t come over to the reader that I meant it to sound. I’m new at this and i’m hoping that I will eventually learn how to do this properly. One thing is for sure…..I’m loving it. Thanks for the advice.

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  4. The curator will make choice regarding what items to bring together for the show he is organizing, so, Basically Art is filtered out before what you are seeing in an Art show organized by a Curator, an Artist is no more in the picture..!!
    Why should I Organize my art show by a Curator and why People forced to see what he (curator) wanted to show you..!!
    Art need to grow by an Artist himself, not by the Curator..!!

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  5. I enjoyed this post. I was just having a childhood memory this morning but never thought to write about it. I plan to write and eventually post. When I do I will comment again with a link. Thanks!

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  6. I also worry about people understanding me or not. The one post I wrote with freedom and abandon is my only post that actually brought in many readers– along with some pretty controversial responses. While it was uncomfortable to be called a few names and be misunderstood by a few, it was worth it to know that it got people talking!

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  7. Writing Honestly
    by Erica V. A child experiences things from his. or her true self (creatively) and not from his, or her theoretical self (dutifully), i.e. the self he, or she thinks that they ought to be. This is a very interesting statement. Erica V is a gem!

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  8. Valiosa sugerencia, para inicialmente escribir con soltura, aunque para ciertos casos exigirá esfuerzo, estas remembranzas.
    Luego de conseguir deslizar nuestras primeras frases escritas, probablemente fluirán con más y sorprendente holgura.

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  9. Yeah, I’ve been slowly learning that I should just write what’s on my mind and forget what people think. If they don’t like it, then they can go elsewhere. Not that I want to scare people away, but I won’t worry over it too much.

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  10. As a facilitator of creative writing and creative self expression I too still feel the pinch of self consciousness before writing for certain events etc. I adore Brenda Ueland’s book and have used her advice in some of my classes. The classes are usually populated with students in the over 50’s age group, a group steeped in conditioned duty. A particular passage that appears on pg.65 gives us all permission to write badly:”See how bad a story you can write. How dull it can be. Go ahead. I will give you ten dollars if you can write something thoroughly dull from beginning to end! And of course no one can.” That advice and challenge has helped in freeing up the playful muse who when writing from a child like point of view is expansive and full of wonder.Thank you for evoking the memory of her advice.

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  11. This is a very interesting post, that has encourage me to continue my writings. I will be sharing alot of childhood memories in my up coming book Secrets Revealed, The Best of Both Worlds. Thanks for the tips. I hope all people participating in this discussion and who blog on word press will get a copy once its published, and read over some of my childhood memories, they are very interesting. Thanks again for the opportunity to
    share.

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  12. it’s a good idea 🙂 I guess am gonna give it a try 😀
    so I should write about any childhood memory I had then ? I guess I can manage 🙂

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  13. Good post, get the same anxiety sometimes, especially as I’m trying to write a post every day. Not all my posts are personal (some are just reviews or lists) but I do worry about how I’m writing and the fact that I seem to have a limited number of words in my vocabulary (I’d hate to see how many times I’ve used “fantastic” in my posts).
    But writing honestly I don’t seem to have any problem with, sometimes I’ll actually put something in that when someone mentions it to me in real life I’ll think I probably should’ve left out. Oversharing is not a good thing.

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  14. I find that I have that same proble when I write for my blog. In fact, since my blog is just in its begining stages, I often go back and erase whole paragraphs I wrote so that I don’t offend potential subscribers and readers. The trick I use is telling myself that the readers aren’t there to hear me talk safely about things, but to express my true opinions.

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  15. This was a very refreshing thing to do. Given that my blog is supposed to be a hobby I do give a large chunk of my life to it. It has made me realise that you can’t produce a good post in one draft. I like many others I censor what I write for fear of offending. I am also very guarded about revealing my location and too much identifying detail about myself. Maybe if I knocked down my walls to knee level then my writing may come a little easier and I might find “my style”. Anyway, here is my child-hood memory. It has been a lovely one to put to paper (or screen).
    http://whatweatetodayuk.com/2012/01/10/guilty-pleasures/

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  16. A Time to Remember 1950’s –1960’s Matlock Green and Matlock, Derbyshire England.

    When I was growing up in the 50’s, in Matlock Green, and Matlock, Derbyshire, England. I can remember some of the people who lived in Matlock Green and surrounding districts, that shared my life. A history of the 1950’s when it was a different time, a kinder time, where we helped one another without asking, a different culture that totally changed a time when we respected one another.

    The Little Wooden Wagon.

    My brother and I had a wooden wagon we played with. It was made of wooden slats you could see through, and many a times we would go bottle picking with Neil Stoppard who’s mother owned the hardware store in Matlock Green. The best place to pick up bottles was the first entrance to the Matlock football field that had a locked gate so people would not sneak in without paying. There was a square of bushes surrounded by a boxwood hedge, which continued all the way to Farmers Garage, and the entrance to the football field where you paid to get in to watch the game. Neil and Andrew who were four years younger than I would go on all fours through the bushes and find many bottles. They would throw them out and I would put them in the wooden wagon. When they came out the boys were filthy, the clothes, knees, and shoes looked as though they had seen better days. I wore a dress and cared about getting dirty, but they were boys and thought nothing of the dirt. We would pull the wagon along the boxwood hedge sometimes people would stick their empties in the hedge and fill our wagon to the top. Auntie Dolly Wall would take all the Corona bottles and Squash bottles and my Dad took the beer and wine bottles at The HorseShoe Pub. One day we made a lot of money 30 old pence which would be two shillings and six pence, and we split it equally between the three of us. I know Neil came to a sad demise but when you are children you are innocent and not tainted by gossip or hate.

    Written by Susan Oliver.

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  17. Nope. I’m used to posting tons of things on old homepages from the late 90’s, blogging heavily on LiveJournal, etc. I don’t feel any anxiety over making a post.

    But to ask me to post a childhood memory… Scary! :O hehehehe.

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  18. I write a devo-style blog, focused on sharing who I am (a mess! lol) in order to encourage sisters in Christ to persevere in troublesome times. Setting up a blog with that focus is forcing myself to get past those fears (which is hard, but so good as a writer-in-training!).

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  19. I just wrote an post about what I have learned about blogging since I started and in it I put a line about something a professional blogger had advised, which was that “To simply write and to not get caught up in hesitancy because you cannot please everyone all of the time, so just write”. I have adopted that advice and decided to write what it is I wish to write ‘No holds barred’ as they say. Whether anyone likes it is another story! lol!!

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  20. I write honestly and rarely feel anxiety about any of my posts, even the controversal ones on suicide, religion, etc.

    We have as many reputations as acquaintances and NONE is accurate . . . so worrying about our reputation is not a good use of time. We could spend a whole lifetime trying to correct their misapprehensions . . . or we can just “do our thang!”

    Brenda Ueland’s book is on my bookshelf. For good reason. 😀

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  21. I always feel as though I’m hindering myself, both as a writer and as an author, if that makes any sense. Steps I’m taking involve facing the fear by going forward, and setting easier-to-reach goals so that I can feel as though I’ve accomplished something. I’ve also made myself more willing to share my work with first readers. Feedback, especially positive, fuels me.

    Nice post. Thanks, Erica!

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