Turning writing into a profession is a gut wrenching, challenging process. You can write the ultimate literary masterpiece, but it may never be published. There is pressure to build a portfolio, pressure to maximise reach, pressure to get as many face book likes as possible.
The reality of our lives is that in order to be a successful writer, you must produce a prolific amount. Always risking that no one will read it or worse, be torn apart as a result of what you have written. Writers often feel trapped, like they can’t find their voice or if they do, their voice won’t be heard.
The result is that words, thoughts, emotions, bubble and fester inside, like lava in a volcano, waiting to erupt. The need to write is like a volcano bubbling inside, ready to erupt at any moment. The only way to simmer the explosion is to release it into the world, to bare all and be vulnerable.
Somehow you find a way, find the time, find the space to put pen to paper or to start typing. The ability to find your voice and express it in a literary platform is a crucial expression of identity, of passion and concern. Even if no one ever reads it. Even if it is just for you.
For us at JWOW, writing is a way to find meaning in what we do. Writing is a continual process of observing the world we live in and self-reflection, a balance between what you want to share and what you want to keep to yourself. You need to be politically correct but at the same time be vulnerable.
You run the risk of misinterpretation, of defamation, of revealing more about your life that you ever intended.
We write as a means of illuminating the intersection between personal and political, between individual and society, privilege and social justice.
Writing is the expression of our self-determination and reveals the schisms in our lives- the dilemmas, the incongruity.
Etgar Keret, the acclaimed Israeli writer said in his recent Australian tour, that he writes where there is a gap- where no one else is saying what needs to be said. He also said that he wonders how many of us have superpowers that we never know about because we our busy doing other things.
Oprah Winfrey in her visit to Melbourne last year said that everything is better when you share it and that you should honour your calling.
JWOW allows us to do all of those things- to see if writing is a superpower for each of us, to fill a gap in the community, to share the experience with other writers and realise an ambition.
In beginning a project like this, we have had many discussions about what we should write, how we should write, does it matter if no one reads what we write. Where is the balance, how do we define success? Does it matter if no one hears our message? Perhaps yes. Should it stop us? No. Should we be surrendering who are or what we have to say to popular appeal, to get maximum reach?
We write because we must. It is a record of who we are and what we have to say. We write for our daughters, to be proud role models for them. They write with us. We write for our sons- so they understand what it means to be a women in the world. Are we entitled to raise our voices, to lift our pens in an attempt to change the paradigm of our lives and society? Yes.
We are raw. This is a work in progress. These are the issues. These are the struggles. Share our journey. Make it part of yours too.
Image by Melissa W Edwards