What Do You Do When Nobody is Watching?
Write it all down, Jen, like nobody is reading.
Because they’re not.
This was 2011. I spent 9-5 at a desk facing a poster of a dreamy ocean. I was working a job of nightmares. A local magazine. My boss ate her lipstick when I asked to write a tiny article, laughing at my heated cheeks she said, “Ha! You’re not a writer. You don’t have it in you. You, Jen Glantz, are not good enough.”
Maybe then she was right. But I was ga-ga over words and I had stories to tell. I started the blog The Things I Learned From that day. My first story? My 93-year-old aunt telling me to mess up my life while I was young.
I wrote every single day. No one read anything I wrote. I didn’t care. It was my mental escape. It was my way of being honest because sometimes, in real life, I struggle saying what I really want to say, so I don’t say anything, or it comes off as fake. I know that about me.
I sent every story I wrote to a website called Thought Catalog. If only they published my writing, millions would see. Millions! They didn’t. For two years they wrote back nothing, the occasional “no”. Every week for years, I submitted my stories.
There I was, living in New York City, working at a job with a boss that told me to keep quiet, smile, nod along in meetings, that’s it. My phone rings. “We want to publish the story you sent us, Jen. Actually, we want to publish anything you have. We love your writing a lot.”
Finally. Thought Catalog. Finally.
“So many people will read your stories, Jen. Even more, if you keep writing that real messy truth of yours."
I sat down in the middle of Heard Square. I couldn’t stop panting. Tourists looked. Shopping bags slapped my head. And I sat there and I cried. Write for no one no more. Write for everyone, Jen, and don’t hold back. What do you have to lose? Later, I’d learn, so much. So much.
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