“Every poem is worth writing, but not every poem is worth reading,” my poetry professor has often repeated to our class.
It’s a saying that she picked up from her professor during her college days. And don’t mistake her – it’s said in a loving way.
Sometimes, our thoughts and experiences are so heavy that we use writing as a tool to process them, but the thing about art is that once it’s out there, you can’t control how others interpret it.
I’ll admit, I kind of dread sharing my writing because of this.
Last week, I was by no means looking forward to sharing a poem I wrote for a workshop. It touched on something personal that I experience, which I didn’t expect my peers to pick up on.
They complimented the poem’s craft and offered helpful suggestions on how to improve it, which I really appreciated. But the thing that stuck with me most about that workshop, was the way my one classmate understood exactly what I was referring to. Just like that, I felt a little less alone.
Giving our stories a singular, straightforward understanding isn’t always the goal. When we write creative works, it’s not really up to us how other people feel about, interpret, or regard our words. But if those words can act as a balm to just one person, it’s worth it to push past that fear – even if that one person is just yourself this time.