Sunday, November 23, 2014

On Looking Before You Leap

Sitting down to write an inaugural blog post feels a little intimidating.   I’m not sure why that is.  Those of you who know me well (which, frankly, is all of you at this point) know that I’m rarely at a loss for words.  Ask me my opinion on something, and I’ll offer you my current perspective, as well as all of the other angles I’m considering.  Ask me for advice, and I’ll share what I currently know and point you in the direction of resources to answer the questions I can’t. 
But put a blank slate in front of me, and I may not know where exactly to begin.  The truth is, I know that starting a blog is not actually the very best idea I’ve ever had.  In fact, I’ve compiled a short list of reasons I should not start this blog:

1.  Everything I have to say has already been said by someone else, but more eloquently and with better punctuation.

Do you know how many blogs are on the internet?  I can’t find a precise answer to this, but most answers point to somewhere around 200 million.  200 million blogs.  That’s a fairly saturated market wouldn’t you say?  I think if you want to find a blog on, oh, ANY TOPIC IN THE WORLD, it probably exists.  Adding a voice to that feels a little like shouting into the void.  And that punctuation bit?  I’m not really exaggerating.  I love semi-colons and exclamation points and an ellipsis...

2.  Writing a blog feels a little self-involved.

It does though, doesn’t it?  Sure, I write all day long in my head and those words are collecting dust on brain shelves that are becoming so cluttered I can barely remember what day it is, but shouldn’t a journal suffice?   Why do I feel the need to publish these thoughts or ideas in a public forum? 

Those aren’t rhetorical questions so maybe I should try to answer them.  For one thing, I have found inspiration on blogs because someone else was brave enough to share her story or his perspective.  I have found like-minded individuals when I felt alone, and I’ve found writing that challenged my worldview and shifted my actions in meaningful ways.  So, while sharing my experiences as a first-time homeschooler, or a participant in/patron of local theater, or a passionate reader of children’s literature may feel self-indulgent at times, I want to stay open to the idea that one of you reading my words might find something meaningful in them.

3. Writing a blog will involve dealing with negative people who reside in internet-land.

Since the beginning of creative expression there have been critics, and criticism can be a very positive motivating force, shining light on areas for improvement and encouraging us to stretch our thinking or perspective.  However, while the internet has offered unencumbered space for creative freedom, it has also created a breeding ground for those who thrive on ridiculing the creative work of others.   Did you know there are entire websites dedicated to mocking the 200 million aforementioned blogs?   These negative internet people also like to leave charming comments on blogs like this one: http://theconcourse.deadspin.com/rainbow-cake-recipe-inspires-comment-apocalypse-1592575661

You know what?  Strike point 3.  Those comments are actually hilarious, and if negative internet people manage to find my obscure blog and leave that level of commentary, it might be time to sit back, pour myself a drink, and laugh until I cry. 

4.  I’m not a photographer. 

No, this is not a photography blog, but a picture is supposed to say a thousand words.  That could be really helpful on days that I don't even have a hundred words to offer up.  Unfortunately, my photography skills are pretty basic.  I can slap a filter over a picture or even make it black and white (I know, I’m so fancy) but I don’t know how to to create that idyllic, light-strewn, "my house is a refurbished barn with modern fixtures" look.  Also, I usually forget that I’m supposed to move the dirty dishes out of the background of my shots.  So, I’m worried this blog won’t be very pretty. 

5.  I’m not sure I can keep up.
 

I’m new to this blogging thing (I’ve got about fifteen minutes of real-life experience to be exact) but I hear that you are supposed to create new content on a regular basis.  There are a lot of things I’m supposed to do on a regular basis that I’m currently failing at:  yoga, exercise of any type, changing all the bedsheets in my house, remembering to put the latest insurance card in my glove box, grocery shopping, trimming my dog’s nails, trimming my own nails, finishing that scarf/children’s book/tv show/cup of coffee from this morning..... the list goes on.  One time, a few years ago, I tried to write a blog for my long-distance friends and family.  It was a private blog, just a short and sweet synopsis of what my family was up to out here in Missouri.  I think I wrote 11 posts and then promptly forgot about it.  If I start this blog, that could happen again.  By the way, I kept the same name from that old blog....just to fan the flames of the likelihood of that happening again.

So, that’s my list.  So far.  I put all of those reasons in writing but if you are reading this that means I went ahead and published it anyway.  I’m not negating any of those points.  I’m recognizing up front that by hitting publish I’m adding one more voice into a large void, and that at times, my writing will be self-indulgent, that I may have to deal with some bitter voices who really hate my terrible photography and that at the end of the day, I may not be as consistent of a writer as I’d like.  But, in spite of all those reasons, I hit publish.  I’m already composing thoughts every day in my head, and I need a place to deposit them so that they don’t swirl around and around when I’m trying to sleep at night or so that I don’t keep trying to share them with uninterested parties (I’m looking at you cashier at Target who did not appear to be interested at all in my thoughts on alternative education and village schools).  At least here, you can self-select out and I’ll never be the wiser (unlike that poor cashier).

And really, this wise writer I dig put it well when she said, “The answer is YES. You should write. Even though everything's already been said beautifully. Even though there's nothing new under the sun. Even so. Because there may be nothing new to say, but if you haven't spoken up yet - then there is a new VOICE to hear. That's all we have - our voices. No two are the same. No one sees the world QUITE like you do, and no one else can tell us your story QUITE like you could. You are our only chance to know you. You're it. If you yearn to use your voice and you don't - we will all suffer for it. Be brave. Be audacious enough to consider that your story is worth telling and your voice is worth hearing. The secret it- it IS. Your story and your voice are worthy of occupying some space in this world. Take it, Sister. Take your space.” - Glennon Melton, Momastery

I’ve never been in the habit of not pursuing that thing that’s tugging at me.  Sometimes, I take the long way, collecting a lot of information or trying to negotiate the timing or predict the outcome, but at the end of the day, I usually leap and find out one way or another if that thing is for me.  So, here I go, taking my space.   The door to my space is open, so visit anytime. 

6 comments:

  1. I love this Jess! #2 is the hardest for me. Keep going, your voice is a great one to be heard:)
    Ash

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Ash! 2 is the hardest for me too. I almost didn't even share that one because who wants to call themself self- indulgent?

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  2. I love this! I can't wait to follow your blog! You are always so articulate, and I love hearing what you have to say. Without wanting to sound patronizing, I'm proud of you! Write away! I'll definitely be reading!

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    1. Thanks JuLee! Not patronizing at all. :)

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