No new emails? Figures.
I am a technical writer who works at home full-time. I am often forgotten or ignored by subject matter experts (SMEs) when it comes to meetings or getting answers to my emails because I live hundreds of miles away, and colleagues never see me in person.
I have a presentation called “The Invisible Writer.” Some writers come to the presentation thinking I’ll discuss how to get SMEs to pay attention to them and cooperate with them within the office. I know these issues are present when working in the same building as the SMEs too, but I have a different perspective now.
Don’t get me wrong—being “invisible” in the corporate world has its perks. I enjoy wearing comfortable, casual clothing everyday. I can get up and go to my desk without quickly having to wash up, change into clothes, and rush out the door into traffic. (Mind you, I DO wash up and change clothes—I just don’t have to do it before noon if I don’t feel like it.) I don’t get lonely, wishing I had co-workers around me, and I don’t have a lot of distractions at home.
I never heard of technical writing until my third year of college, but I have always loved writing, and English was my best subject in high school. I liked creating short stories, and one year, I passed around a composition notebook so that my friends and I could take turns writing scenes for a fictional soap opera. It was a hit with us!
I have been writing for 20 years, since age 13. It all started when I had to read The Diary of Anne Frank in school. I decided to keep a diary, and back then, I named my diary just like Anne named hers, with no intention of anyone else ever reading it, of course. I have been blogging for the last 3 years, and started writing a self-help book for teen girls and young women, based on many experiences I remembered by looking back at my old journals.
Journaling and blogging give me different kinds of satisfaction, even though both still render me somewhat invisible.
Journaling can be healing. By writing my private thoughts, good and bad, I can watch my personal growth either while it’s happening, or realize it later when I look back at the situations I have gone through. I see how my life has changed because of the situations, and more importantly, how I reacted to them. If you take two people going through the same situation, there will be a difference. A person’s attitude, past, and perspective can greatly determine the outcome of a situation and/or how deeply they are affected by it. Some of the revelations I get from these lessons learned turn into subjects of articles that I publish openly on my blog.
I know that I will always write even if no one ever reads it, but I don’t have to worry about that. I have my blog burned to a feed, filtered into Facebook, and listed in my signature. People tell me time and time again about how helpful, inspirational, and comforted they are by my personal insights. The things I write remind them of unfinished business they need to attend to, their self-worth, a confirmation about a decision that they need to make, or just simply, that someone else understands what they’re going through, and that they’re not alone.
My book seeks to do the same thing. I want to tell girls that they are no alone in their struggles, and that they have so much power to change their destinies for the better. As a girl, I didn’t have an older sister, mentor, or role model to help mold me. I wish I could reach out to the young Daree and tell her that she’s going to be a happy, successful young woman. Tell her that the things she’s SO worried about now won’t matter to her forever. Tell her how beautiful and worthy she is. Tell her that her dad loves her very much, but just doesn’t show it like Cliff Huxtable. Tell her that she will never gain the approval of all men, but doesn’t need it, and shouldn’t try so hard to get it.
But you know what? I have a young daughter named Kaia Daree, so I will get to tell the young Daree all this and more, after all.
This post was originally written for a Funds For Writers essay contest in September 2009. If you’re a writer, this is a great place to get leads and new ideas.