When I started this blog, it was meant to simply motivate me to keep writing consistently. I’d often fantasized about being a legitimate writer, but like clockwork I’d find excuse after excuse to quit that short story or tear up that character sketch. Any writers out there feel me? In fact, my first posts were tame book reviews (all glowing, of course—I didn’t even attempt write ups on the books I disliked). Eight reviews later and I abandoned the site altogether. Until approximately nine months ago, that is.
After finding solace in many a mommy blog and doing a very interpretive version of the Artist’s Way, I couldn’t help feeling like maybe it was time to channel my own experiences in motherhood for writing inspiration. It also helped me keep track of my little lady’s super speedy development. I wrote about that here, if you’re curious. Until very recently, however, I’d been doing it on the sly. Outside of a small portion of the blogging community and some close friends, for all intents and purposes, I was basically just putting my thoughts out into the ether. Like Rose letting the Heart of the Ocean slip from her hand into the deep blue depths. Sorry, that was a supremely cheesy Titanic reference, but sadly I actually did picture that scene every time I clicked “publish” on my wordpress admin. Still do.
Writing in such a public format like a blog is a mixed bag. On the one hand, it’s forced me to actually write. I know that is pretty obvious, but as I said that is no a small feat. I have always felt compelled to put pen to paper (or finger to keyboard, as the case may be these days), but I would find every excuse to put it off for fear the result would be complete crap. Having shared a very modest commitment to write one paragraph per week on my site, I created a semi-regular “deadline” (albeit set by me) that gave me permission to ignore all my second guessing. Were there times I skipped a week here and there? Ok you caught me! But I always came back and the result is, frankly, more writing than I’ve ever managed in my life (outside of my many volumes of journals, that is). Ignoring that little fear-mongering jerk of a voice–even just for the purposes of this blog–has even trickled into other facets of my life and helped me be more comfortable in my own skin.
On the other hand, choosing to share aspects of my life for all the interwebs to behold does have it’s down sides. My greatest concern going into this was that it would hurt my daughter and family in some way. I also worried that by putting myself out there my words could be misinterpreted and it would invite some unwelcome scrutiny or worse. Actually, the two fears are not mutually exclusive I guess. Could these things happen? Sure. They are vague enough fears that many things could fit under their general umbrella. In fact, I think I’ve used a variation on these exact worries to talk myself out of a lot of adventures and opportunities in my life, if I’m being honest.
Shortly after I shared my site on Facebook, I received some feedback that brought all those fears bubbling up to the surface once again. My first instinct was to throw my hands up and exit stage left. Thankfully I had enough wisdom (after a good pep talk or two anyway) to pause, take a step back and survey the situation. Why am I giving one negative voice in a sea of positivity so much power? I guess the simple answer would be that hearing someone confirm your fears gives them a certain legitimacy. I think there’s a little more to it, though. I have learned from experience (and The Artist’s Way. Holla!) that every time anyone does anything remotely worthwhile—particularly if that something scares the shit out of them—they’re given all these “opportunities” for self-sabotage. I may possibly be hurting someone’s feelings according to this random person, don’t you see!? A few people think I completely suck so I’ll just shrink into these shadows over here.
Thankfully I didn’t let this little blip stop me. Nope, not this time. Uh uh. I’m so done with wasting time like that. Screw that kind of “what if” regret, you know? I make so many mistakes on a day-to-day basis, may as well make a few that help me grow, right?
So thank you for bearing witness to this flawed human attempting to figure her shit out rather publicly. Without at least one person reading, I’m not sure I’d keep this up. Even if that one person happens to be hate-reading my stuff, thank you.