Before each time I write, I face the conflict of deciding whether to express what I have on my mind as creatively and openly as possible or to craft a piece to please my audience. Because of this struggle, I often say that I cannot think of what to write. In reality, however, my issue is that there are many versions of what I wish to say existing in my head. Some of them are more true and easier to write, and others are contrived messages that are difficult to formulate. But there are always those endless, fiery thoughts I could easily share if I allow myself. So, I believe that I have never been stuck with what is known as “writer’s block.”
On the other hand, speaking is another story. Throughout my life, the spoken word has irritated me. I am embittered when I cannot effectively express what I mean to say due to interruptions from strutters, sneezes, lost trains of thought, and the invasive need for good timing. When I mispronounce a word or use one that does not exist, no red squiggly line without an opinion appears; judgemental people are the only ones to correct me, and they are far worse. The same goes for listening to people speak as opposed to reading what they have to say. When someone has written boring ideas that I cannot stand to pay attention to, I can simply stop reading. But when a similarly boring person is speaking, there is no way to stop hearing them. Fearing the threat of boring my audience with my words or annoying them with my voice, I have completely given up on attempting to sound intelligent when speaking.
A few months ago, my friends asked me to look at an essay I had written for an application. After reading it, they did not believe that their friend who they had never heard speak a cohesive sentence, who frequently uses phrases such as “most funnest,” had created a beautifully written, scholarly paper. Ironically, the foolish front I put up saves me from embarrassment. My theory is that if everything I say is unintelligent, I will never be caught in a humiliating failed attempt to seem bright. And I know that it is easy to assume that I paint myself as a fool because that is how I see myself or I constantly seek attention (both of which are slightly true), I mostly do so because professing my ideas aloud is useless when I have the tool of writing.
So, if you ever feel like no one is listening, it is likely because no one is. If you have a feeling that people would rather pay attention when you speak to make fun of how you look or sound when you do so, it is best to assume that this is the truth. If your words are scrambled and you cannot articulate them perfectly, just stop trying; write them down instead. You can delete what you regret saying, you can take as much time as you wish, and you can say exactly what you desire to without worrying about who will see it––because no one has to. You may find that you have developed your ideas so profoundly that the attention of an audience has become meaningless.