Creating isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. Don’t let fear drag you down.
On February 2, 2016, I pulled the trigger on my first post. I wrote about finding God’s voice in the noise of children and homeschooling.
But I only shared part of the story.
The truth is my blog actually went live four months earlier, in November of 2015. I wrote that first post when I was having A DAY: lots of screaming (mine), a fair amount of crying (the kids’), and a single pronouncement of hatred for homeschooling and frustration with the life I’d chosen.
It was clear I needed a break. I parked the kids in front of the TV and spilled my anger onto the keyboard. Twenty minutes later I had a thousand words on paper and a better grip on reality. My finger hovered over the publish button.
I clicked Save Draft instead.
The post sat in months of limbo while I contemplated my sins. There was quite a bit of struggle lurking in those words. Did I want to give it a voice? If I did, was that voice even worth reading?
Every few weeks I would log in, read the post, and pick myself apart. The post was raw. The post was angry.
The post needed another two paragraphs.
So I wrote them. I revised the piece to reflect the person who had emerged on the other side of the keyboard. She was calmer, easier on herself, and generally a whole lot happier, especially to be writing again (thank you Zoloft). I published the post, shared it on Facebook, and waited for the influx of readers.
If you are a blogger, you are probably well aware of what happened next: a whole lot of nothing. Bloggin’ ain’t a field of dreams – just because you write it doesn’t mean your readers will come. The internet is infinite, stretching as far as the network can see. Readers have to find you in the extra noise, and the process of helping them find you is an introvert’s nightmare.
Bloggers must use self-promotion on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest. They must participate in professional development, networking, collaboration, and guest posting. And while a blogger is all but standing on the corner with a shingle to her name, she’s still molding and shaping her writer’s craft in search of The Thing setting her apart in the great cyber sea.
It gets tiring. As a sensitive soul, I started to question the motives of the people I encountered. Were they commenting on my post and sharing it because they really liked it? Or were they just being social because they wanted something from me? I became intensely jealous and overtly suspicious. Collaboration became a chore, and my experiences with guest posting were lackluster at best (the incident that hurt the most was a piece I slaved over for weeks, only to find it so heavily edited on the other blogger’s site that it was no longer representative of my work).
There are so many voices, I told myself. So many writers with more followers, more exposure. Why was I even keeping a blog in the first place?
I thought about quitting. A lot, actually. But I pushed through, and the more I kept writing even when I didn’t want to or when I didn’t think anyone would care, the more I discovered the truth in an old adage from grad school:
Writing is thinking.
It is healing.
It is dreaming, seeking, finding, and giving.
Writing breathes life to a voice as unique as the story the writer has lived. It gives writers the chance to become someone else’s whispered prayer.
So to all the writers who wonder if any of it should see the light of day, to all the creative hearts who guard their gifts, to all the souls who fear the specter of rejection, I say, do it anyway.
Write the story.
Sing the song.
Pull the trigger.
There’s room out there for all of us.