Why I unfollowed my favorite writer

Allison Marie Conway
by Allison Marie Conway
Art & Soul

There comes a time when something helpful can become harmful for the same reason. Like having training wheels when you are learning to ride a bike, where at first those little wobbly wheels give you the courage and reassurance to get on and give bike riding a go, after a while they are not helping you but rather holding you back. If you want to ride with the big kids? The training wheels gotta go.

I also found this to be true for me when it came to writing in my own unique voice. When we first start out writing we are imitations of all the beautiful writers we ever found interesting. These are the writers whose prose made your mouth water and your insides electric with desire to write—to write just to write—in the hopes of one day becoming as graceful as your favorite writer is on the page.

This is a gorgeous thing, and in many ways it is why I want to offer my writing to the world: I want to awaken that desire in other budding writers.

But just like those rickety training wheels, if you ever want to write like a big kid, you need to let go of what is holding you back from finding you own personal power and potential. Ironically, those writers who helped you get started will one day be the ones drowning you out.

A while back, I found this to be true on my own writing journey. And I did one of the hardest things I have ever done in terms of evolving into my own voice, my own style, and learning to trust myself. I unfollowed one of my very favorite writers on all social media. No Instagram, no Twitter, no blog, no books, no nothing.

This writer was so beautiful and rich in her prose, so maddeningly talented that it pulled at my veins to read every single thing she created. And it dawned on me that to continue to follow her would have swallowed me up, would have robbed me of discovering myself.

This writer made me want to write from a place so deep I didn’t even know I had it in me until I came across her incredible work. But what I had to realize was that she was teaching me to dig deeper into my own inner depths, not hers.

A subtle difference and yet a major one.

Those artists and writers we so admire have come into our lives because they show us glimpses of our own wild spectacular potential. For a while, we will try them on by way of imitation, however subtle. But when it is time (and we know when it is time if we are true and honest with ourselves) we must let go and believe we have our own inspired path to follow. One where those writers who got us started will fade to whispers while we take center stage.

Allison Marie Conway has been writing poetry since she was ten years old, and is now the author of two published books. Every Monday she sends out a little love letter to fellow kindred creatives. You can sign up to receive these, and find out more about Allison, at her website.

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