For most of my life, everything I have written has been for someone else's approval. In grades K through 12 I wrote for the teachers' approval and grades. Always in the back of my mind were concerns about how to word this, or was there a better word to use than that one? If I change my punctuation, will that garner better acceptance? Is this sentence too long? Can this paragraph be shortened? Did I use enough references in my bibliography?
College set a higher standards for writing... higher stakes with which to contend; another's approval now being more critical for securing grades which could effect my future life choices. Professors strong-arming for essays that supported their views, not necessarily my own. I was writing strictly for them.
Being a manager in the military brought yet another requirement... proficiency in technical writing. Regulations being very precise in directing what to do, who could do it, when to do it, how to do it, and why it had to be done. Step by step instructions, written to the lowest level, with nothing left out. Scrutinized at all levels of up the chain of command before being accepted and put into print.
Then came my time... time to write what I wanted to. After years of writing for everyone else I found it awkward. Now writing for anyone who might read my work, but who? I had no idea. I was writing for anyone... for no one. It seemed like starting all over... writing for someone else's approval, but now with no set guidelines and unknown expectations.
Poetry was the first outlet in which I found I could express myself, in my own style, letting feelings and emotions flow. There were no formal guidelines, no expectations, no rules to follow. Writing became therapy for life experiences, so I was in total control. I was writing for myself. Thoughts flowed faster than I could sometimes keep up with. It didn't matter if it made sense to anyone else as long as it made sense to me. In sharing some of my work I found that others appreciated such honesty and openness; icing on the cake. I discovered that there will be people who will enjoy my work, just as there will be people who will not. Once I made the decision to write for myself I knew I would always have at least one fan; and an ever changing following of readers. My work is always appreciated by one, and not by all. Write to please yourself; followers will find you.
By Steve Hall
I am a family man, close to my mother and siblings, with three children of my own, three grandchildren, a girlfriend, a college degree, several career endeavors, and retired. With all these riches, I still have what is referred to in the medical field as "brain freeze", as I continue to look for lasting fulfillment in my life.
Find out more about Steve Hall on his site.