December 31, 2016

reclaiming (and reshaping) a voice.


After years of neglect, I finally gave my journal some attention in 2016. It had been mostly tossed aside in favor of this blog for quite a while, but over the last several months, whenever I sat down to blog, I just... couldn't. Everything I wanted to write felt too personal, too sacred, to share here. And so I returned to my journal. Pen and paper. Writing privately, just for me — not for this little blog, or for work — I'd almost forgotten how good that felt. It was freeing.

If I'm being totally honest, I think I also stepped back from this blog out of fear. The internet is a different, far more intimidating place than it was when all this began. Back in 2009, I started a blog because Sam had one, and because it felt like I was writing to her, my best friend. (And I mostly was, since she was one of, you know, five-ish friends following my posts.) The blogging world felt small because it was fairly small, and that sense of intimacy, real or imagined, allowed for open, fearless, altogether imperfect writing.

Things, of course, have changed. With writing, all of it — on blogs, on sites, on social media — there's a level of scrutiny that didn't seem to exist before. Or, if it did, I was naive enough to ignore it. 

I'm grateful for the scrutiny. It keeps us honest, and it encourages thoughtful, diligent writing, both in journalism and in tiny corners of the web like this one. For me, though, that scrutiny comes with the sense that I need to be a bit more cautious. Careful with my language and my ideas. That's good for me, I know. It's a necessary and ultimately rewarding challenge, but it's also forced me to rethink my writing, and who I am as a writer. For better and for worse, I question myself more than ever before, and I'm doing my best to reclaim (and reshape) my voice.

More than once I've considered deleting this blog, or making it private, or erasing entire sections. It's not that I've ever written anything really wild or controversial — let's be real, this is basically a collection of sappy, melodramatic musings on the people I love and the places I come from. Still, I find myself feeling a bit embarrassed about some of what I wrote in my early twenties. The blogging landscape has changed so much that some of those earlier posts feel out of place and slightly unrecognizable. Isn't that how it always feels when you go back and read your old diary entries?

For now, anyway, I've decided that it should stay. That there's something sweet and sort of powerful about the raw, wide-eyed innocence and optimism of a young person saying whatever they want to say, even if it's cheesy or slightly self-centered or imperfect. Especially if it's imperfect.

We need those bold, unabashed voices more than ever now, don't you think?

11 comments:

Natalie said... [Reply to comment]

After all these years I still LOVE reading your blog, Laura. It's been a treat to see you grow as a woman since I found your blog in college. You are a total inspiration and I'm so glad you're still around, sharing your story.

Funny note - my best friend and I were in Chicago the same day that Radley proposed to you and we were PRAYING we'd run in to you so we could meet you and congratulate you guys. The internet really is a special place =)

xo,
Natalie

Laura Marie Meyers said... [Reply to comment]

@Natalie Oh, Natalie, this meant so much. I love that you guys were there that day! Thank you for all the kind words <3 xo

Niken said... [Reply to comment]

I have the same thought about blogging. It has changed now from what it was when I started to blog (and found your blog and read all your musings from your uni days until now). I can totally relate with you - there are things that I feel so personal and this space is not something i feel 'safe' to share. I am glad that you decided to keep it for now as I've always enjoyed reading your words. please don't stop!

Briel said... [Reply to comment]

I'm glad that you've decided to keep the blog up for the time being! I've always enjoyed reading your posts whenever they pop up!

Patty Rosato said... [Reply to comment]

Oh! I do hope you continue to write and share in some fashion, if not here, I would buy any book you write. Your words are beautiful and I always feel both inspired to write as well as to look at the world a little more poetically. I agree blogging has changed, I took a stab at it post college circa 2008 and found a happy little niche for a while. I found I became less brave to be vulnerable, and maybe just lacked the confidence to expose myself. I would understand if you choose to make it private or absolve all together, I just want to thank you for sharing at all!

Amy Fisher said... [Reply to comment]

I think it is great you returned. You know, once I didn't know what to write about too. What do you think about this service livingwisdomschoolassisi.com ? I have to use it when I need an essay.

Peter Quigley said... [Reply to comment]

Sometimes it is neccessary to make a pause and not to write. I know it. Now I am working on my new book. And today I suddenly saw this service http://paidpaper.net/cv/. I am sure it will help me.

Dewey & Heidi said... [Reply to comment]
This comment has been removed by the author.
Heidi E. said... [Reply to comment]

There absolutely is : )

Though I've never posted before, I feel compelled to tell you that your blog was the first I ever followed, thanks to a random shared love of Emily Giffin.

Born and raised in MN, I loved your connection to the midwest. At the time, I was living in Boston. A year later, I moved to San Francisco - just before you did, actually! Randomly enough, you and Radley were chatting with friends right next to us at the Corte Madera mall. I almost said "hi" but didn't want to interrupt your conversation haha! We moved to SoCal shortly thereafter and now live in DC [my husband is a LT CMDR in the Coast Guard so we move A LOT]. Long story short, I write all this to encourage you to keep writing.

Your words are so well written and you capture daily life with such grace and authenticity that after all these years, your blog remains my favorite. You have a talent and your words bring joy : )

Laura Marie Meyers said... [Reply to comment]

@Heidi E. Oh, Heidi. You've made me tear up! And I can't believe you saw us — you should've said hi! :)

Thank you so much for the kind words. Meant a lot. <3

Heather said... [Reply to comment]

Hi Laura,

I, as well came across your blog many years ago in the same manner as Heidi. Your blog was/is my favorite! I encourage you as well to continue because I am tired of the current blogs out there that just post fashion for profit. To each its own, but I always loved your writing style and you have this unique way of looking into all situations that you encounter and your positivity shines through and makes us all feel hopeful and inspired to be the best version of ourselves. Please keep writing. Even though people don't comment as much as they used to, I'm sure they are still reading and feeling inspired by you in some way. I guarantee it. Thanks for being you and keeping everything the same!