So, some of you know that I started a new job last Monday. Holy Guacamole – to say I’ve been a little busy would be an understatement.
The thing is … I’m still doing my old job, and I’m navigating the new one, too. And, truth be told, I’ve done a quite a bit of it for some time now.
Somewhere in the quiet part that is Sunday evening a little voice whispered to me: “Hey you, the forecast is nasty, and you have an awful lot of calls scheduled, so how ’bout a bit o’ lunch?” I dug out a bruised Gladware container and assembled a beautiful salad of fresh greens, tomatoes, English cucumbers and grilled chicken. Then I wrote myself a note so I’d remember to take it with me today!
And it was a good thing I did because this day took off like a shot and it was 2:00 before I remembered that I even had a lunch to eat.
And in that moment, I caught my breath, laughed out loud and thought, “Go with what you know.”
The situation was really no different than when I started blogging two years ago. I remember getting all caught up in the excitement of it, the newness of it, and the desire to take off on the journey and see where it would go.
And I remembered how, later on, I found myself stepping back and, in the end, giving myself permission not to know everything. To not have it all together. To do it my way.
So with that, I’m revisiting that post tonight.
I’m taking a page out of my own book and I’m going with what I know.
* * *
Asked about blogging, it hit me what I’ve learned from the experience:
1. Write as often as you want to but resist the pressure to publish every day. Remember that you do this because you enjoy writing. Example: At first, I obediently followed the mandate set by my instructor – to write and publish daily. I know she meant well because her point was to keep it fresh and avoid too many days between posts. But now, looking back, I can tell the difference between my “going through the motions-posts” and those that were really me – at my most authentic. And if I could tell, I’m pretty sure others could, too.
2. To that end, let your posts breathe. Not all of your readers are “online” at the same time and when you post something new, older posts get pushed to the bottom. Give each one its due.
3. Read (and be inspired) by the work of others: Be moved by the posts, dreams and the designs of the many talented writers here in the blogosphere. When I feel “stuck,” all I have to do is click & read. In no time at all, I’m laughing, smiling, crying, nodding my head in agreement and commenting. In no time at all, I’ve forgotten about my little blog and have subscribed to several more.
4. Commenting on blogs is a wonderful way to connect but there’s a tiny line between being interested and supportive and just being there to promote your stuff. People will find you if they’re interested and they don’t … then they don’t. The self-promoting commenter makes me think of that snot-nosed kid who dumps his milk at the dinner table on purpose: Look at me, notice me, see me, I’m here. Geez, I get it already now knock it off!
5. Mind your manners: respond to comments and acknowledge those who took the time to weigh in. However, if someone chooses to swear at me, their comments will not see the light of day. Constructive criticism – bring it on but general viciousness? Hell to the no. My blog – my rules.
6. Take the challenge: The topics I care most about are the hardest for me to write. So when I find myself feeling that pinch, I dig a little deeper and keep at it because I know I’ve hit the good stuff.
7. Slog through: Often, what I feel most passionate about can leave me feeling vulnerable and it’s tempting to self-censor…. but then I can easily lose the point of my post. However, what I’ve learned is that the most difficult posts to write have become my favorites. Maybe not the most read, but.. My. Personal. Favorites. And that counts for something, too. 🙂
8. Be open to ideas: Ideas come in all shapes and sizes and often at random times. Keep a list. You can email ideas to yourself, record messages on your cell phone or, like me, scribble notes down on the backs of envelopes, post-its and grocery lists.
9. Have fun: If writing starts feeling like a chore, step away and do something else. Chances are something else in your day will inspire you. We’re not curing Cancer here, people! Step away, mix it up, come back & let ‘er buck!
10. Write what you know: Lastly, lots of blogging “authorities” will tell you to “become the expert,” or to find out what you’re an expert on. Well, the only thing I am an expert on is me, my life and my experiences … and all of it is a work in progress anyways.
Have you ever stepped back from something only to discover that what you already know is actually … quite enough? What have you learned to trust yourself with?