I spent a few hours customizing the theme of this site and working my way through all the different options. Curated to be exactly to my liking, I set about writing the Week One post, already half-composed in my head.
I posted it.
Then, I read a post of a friend – where he made the declaration along the lines of “it’s okay if you don’t care about what I have to say – I’m just writing this because I like to write and want to express myself creatively for the sole benefit of doing it…because I enjoy it.” I read that, and I thought about my own post. I thought about how I tried for poetic sentence structure and dramatic phrasing. How I prided myself on my blog post-prowess. I hadn’t shared it with others, after all, but when I read it again…I wondered if I hadn’t, subconsciously, written it with the opinion of others in mind.
We live in a veritable vortex of word-sharing. Ideas and communication circulate faster and wider than ever before. Traditional printed media – such as physical books and newspapers – seem to have fallen out of circuit somewhat, but there has been an surge in the number of articles and blog posts I see shared on social network platforms each day. Whether they are another’s words or our own – we have become very accustomed to posting and proclaiming words on public platforms. (omg the alliteration YAAAAS)
The rise in the number of personal blogs over the past few years has been astounding. I’m not sure what the statistics are, but scrolling my own Facebook feed, it seems there is new a post about someone’s new blog or someone’s guest post each day. I don’t mean to sound as though I’m condemning this. I think it is phenomenal that we live in a world and time where the outlets for developing, crafting and sharing our own thoughts is virtually innumerable. I also think that this has, in some way, added to the culture of comparison that has infected most forms of social media. I see someone’s blog. I read their post. I look at the design of the site. I think, “Wow, this is so good. This person put so much effort into this. Look at how polished it seems. How natural their writing is. How effortless and hilarious their funny anecdotes are. I could never do that.”
Now, maybe it’s just me – but I’d wager that there are others who have looked at the creativity, the skills or the talents of another person and turned it into a negative statement, a limitation, on themselves. I’ve tried to not give into this, to not place myself out of reach from something just because someone else can do it too. Have I wanted to have my own blog before? Yes. Have I ignored that desire because I didn’t want to be “just another person with a blog”? Absolutely. I started this blog because I enjoy writing, and it took only one post for me to already question my motives. To wonder if my words were genuine or just well-arranged. Far too often we are held back by the fear of what other people will think or the fear that what we create will be meaningless or the fear that what we do won’t be authentic (or won’t appear authentic to others)…but to borrow a phrase from a book I read in one of my classes, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”
Whether it’s blogging or watercolor or pottery or calligraphy – if it interests you, do it. If it stirs the natural desire within you to create – try it. It’s not that the world doesn’t need “another” person doing that very thing. What we don’t need are people living in the shadows of “someone-else-does-it-better,” too timid to emerge from that darkness into a world hungry for more. Create, seek, try — and share it. And if you see someone else trying out something they’re interested it (and maybe even super good at), do yourself and them a favor – don’t compare. Don’t take what they’ve done and use it for the ulterior purpose (and not a positive one) of making yourself feel lesser. There should be less of “I never have, but have always wanted to…” and more of “I tried it and you know what? It wasn’t too bad.”
Not to copy Nike (or to endorse a YOLO lifestyle), but this is one area of life where I’d say “Just do it.”