Heartbreak Hotel: On Embarrassing Writing

On Embarrassing Writing

The other day I came across a blogging prompt, “what is something you’re embarrassed you’ve written?” and I was all over that like mustard on a hot dog.

I think the easiest thing for me to claim to be embarrassed over would be my fan fiction I wrote back in high school, but like honestly I may have a lot to say about fan fiction and not much of it is embarrassing. More on that subject another time.

Generally speaking, much of what I write is embarrassing, especially if I’m reading it over after a long break. However when I was brainstorming what to write about for this prompt, I decided what would typically be labeled “embarrassing” isn’t really embarrassing to me, but what I initially started writing seriously and was really proud of and excited about turned out to be embarrassing once I reread it and it wasn’t anywhere near as spectacular as I thought it was.

I went back into my writing folder on my computer and started rereading. The things I was cringing at the most were the terrible poetic-like drafts (and lots of lists) I wrote during my most recent heartbreak about three years ago.

Honestly it was terrible. I had at least twenty pages of written material that was just god-awful; I couldn’t help but vocally laugh as I was reading but there were some parts I just had to skim or even skip.

When I was writing these, sitting in front of the bay windows in my flat while I studied abroad in London, I honestly thought I had come up with the next thing I was going to work on being published. I imagined sending out these pieces to the boy that was terrorizing my soul and being like “hahahaha screw you.”

Clearly that’s not going to happen.

It was a little humbling actually, to go back and read something that was so therapeutic to write at the time. Literally if I was upset and wallowing, I’d open up a fresh document and write instead of just drowning in my moody mind. It was the first time for me that I clearly saw the benefits creative writing left with me; I’d always written before as a distraction but most of my writing was never directly about myself.

And then it turns out that the therapy I presented myself with actually turned out to be a pile of slush with maybe on or two salvageable lines scattered around.

I guess when people ask me what I’m writing lately I like to say “oh I’m working on a long project I’ve had floating around for years,” or “just a short story I started thinking about.” I’ve never once said “I’ve been struggling a lot recently so I’m writing through it” and I’ve definitely never said “I’m writing a fan fiction!”

Writing is such a unique and personal experience. Some of the things I wrote down in the mess of mushy, depressing heartbreak are embarrassing, but I’m not embarrassed by the act of writing it. And vice versa: some of the things I write while I write fan fiction are beautiful and creatively shaped just the way I want it, but I am a little embarrassed by the act of writing that. I guess embarrassment comes in different shapes and sizes.

Is there anything you’re embarrassed you’ve written? Or anything you feel like you should be embarrassed about having written?



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