Three things I learned about blogging

  1. Imitation is useless. My own voice is in me, I need to be patient in cultivating it and therefore take time and care in everything I publish.

    Sometimes I wish I was a photographer. I catch myself admiring another blogger's work and supposing their work is easier, more rewarding. I have to remind myself that that isn't true. Every artist willing to publish has decided to invest time in cultivating their talent. Not cultivating my own, or being jealous of others is a mistake. "What I do is me" * will be my motto.
  2. My blog will not cater to family. This is by far the hardest thing I have had to learn. The stories of bloggers who wrote for family and then gained an international audience appealed to me but frustrated my desire to write serious pieces. "Too much reading" relatives would say. "More pictures of the kids" they would cry. And because I am a sensitive flower and love to please, I would listen. The internet gods have since invented Instagram, my husband and I got iPhones and everyone is happy.
  3. The only way to overcome fear created by a bad experience is by jumping back in. My elementary school English teacher, Mrs. de Carle, once read us a story about a deep sea diver who nearly drowned during one of her dives. When she was rescued and cared for, she was encouraged to dive again the same day in order to get past the bad experience.

    I had my amateur blog professionally re-designed. It filled all the criteria of the blogger I aspired to be. It obliged me to publish daily posts with pictures. It also integrated my Twitter feed. As a result, the pressure I put on myself increased and I became unhappy with the idea of blogging. I stopped blogging for an extended period of time. I then made peace with my inability to tweet and deleted my Twitter account. Then I started journaling.

    Journaling became my New Year's resolution and my weekday practice. But writing in secret doesn't allow me to grow as a writer. Instead, I need to find the joy in blogging and the joy in sharing. I owe gratitude to Austin Kleon and his book Show Your Work for giving me the courage.

    Thanks for listening.

* a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins