Intern Josh blogs about using writing to conquer life’s anxieties.

My second semester with Professor Katherine Smith held one of the greatest shake-ups in my young writing career, and I’ll introduce myself by telling you all about it. Writing can be a way to exercise freedom or possibly even conquer your worst traits. This is my story of how I used writing to do both.

Writing can indeed be used to exercise freedom. However, I didn’t become free until quite recently. Also, I didn’t really have a love for writing until recently. Until I stopped denying what I was (gay), I didn’t really have anything to write about. My stories covered miniscule topics and things that really didn’t mean anything. If it hadn’t been for my epiphany, I don’t think I would have found a love for writing. The moment I got into Professor Katherine Smith’s first creative writing class (poetry), I began exercising my writing freedom.

Through writing, I also wanted to conquer my worst trait, nervousness. I came to a question: what if I did something incredibly offsetting on purpose? Something that could act as a benchmark for future moments of nervousness so that way anything I did that was similar to this event wouldn’t make me nervous. This semester I had Professor Smith again, for fiction. I had one goal: not to be cliche by any means, to do something that only I could do. I kept telling myself “if it feels right than it’s right, and I should be committed to it, otherwise it will already prove to be half defeated.” Still, it was hard trying to find a spine of confidence sturdy enough to support the weight of my story which had Sadist/Masochist Romantic erotica between two Homosexual men and very detailed sexual activity and passion.

That’s right, that’s exactly what I was up against. So dangerously bold, which hasn’t always been me but it is what I was becoming: A very outspoken gay sex-positive writer. I knew that once my lips started reading aloud in class from the top of page one I wouldn’t be able to stop until I reached the last word on the final page. I read it, and I hoped my nervousness wasn’t as apparent to my classmates as it was to me, but I could feel my mouth hesitate; I gagged a little and stuttered a lot, but I got through it. I received my critiques, and before I knew it, it was over.

I can’t say whether my plan worked, whether or not I can successfully use this to look upon and not get nervous about anything today. However, I can say that because of what I did that day, I know how to approach anxiety, by taking it head on through writing.