Fearing the Pen, by Sami Yuhas

Here at jeffpearlman.com we like giving young writers a voice. Recently I attended a Rotary event in Somers, N.Y. It was the release of the organization’s annual poetry anthology, which brings together the work of high schoolers from around the state.

I happened to be a speaker at the event, and I invited students—if they felt inspired—to write for this blog. Only one took me up on the offer.

Beginning this fall, Sami Yuhas—pride of Somers High School—will be attending the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State for a Journalism/International Politics double major. Here, she writes about, well, the fear of writing this blog post

I’ve been writing since I was old enough to understand the concept of a sentence. It’s a longtime passion, and while it’s not something I’m directly pursuing in school, I can’t imagine my life without it. There is, though, something deceptive about the art form. On the surface, it seems like some choice words, a good grasp of grammar, and a clever idea should get you by, especially if you’re blogging. It’s neither a research paper nor a creative piece, both of which require a certain finesse to pull off well.

In the past five days, I have learned that, far and away, writing for a blog is the most difficult sort of writing there is.

Yes, a scientific research brief may be more technically demanding and a thesis paper is going to eat up a considerably larger portion of your life, but both of those have a form. There’s a checklist of things to be done, nuances to be employed, and gaffes to be avoided. They have rules and expectations. More importantly, they’re not overly personal.

Blogging requires you to edit your thoughts, to form them into a coherent cohesive strain of words to people other than yourself. It requires you to trust that the words you’ve got pent up inside are going to matter to someone else, even if it’s only for a minute. It forces you to trust your own ideas, unbacked by observations, quotations, or anything of the sort. It forces you to put yourself out there.

That’s the scariest thing of all.

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