The whole book is a gem, but this advice towards the end of the Bird by Bird will stay with me for a long, long time.
“Write about your childhoods, I tell them for the umpteenth time. Write about that time in your life when you were so intensely interested in the world, when your powers of observation were at their most acute, when you felt things so deeply. Exploring and understanding your childhood will give you the ability to empathize, and that understanding and empathy will teach you to write with intelligence and insight and compassion.
Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you're conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say; in the pictures you have painted, and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of.
Try to write in a directly emotional way, instead of being too subtle or oblique. Don't be afraid of your material or your past. Be afraid of wasting any more time obsessing about how you look and how people see you. Be afraid of not getting your writing done.
If something inside you is real, we will probably; find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability.
Don't worry about appearing sentimental. Worry about being unavailable; worry about being absent or fraudulent. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer, you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.”
I created all these different websites/identities online so that whatever I wanted to say could be organized and filed so that I don’t “risk being unliked”. But the safer route betrayed me because I just sat overwhelmed by having to maintain all these different identities. Instead, I’m collapsing all of myself onto here. Going to “write towards vulnerability”, so that I can decrease “the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of.”