This isn’t meant to be a whiny or self-indulgent post so I apologise if it comes out that way.
Ever since I’ve started this blog I’ve been questioning why I started it but over the past few days those voices have been getting louder and more insistent: why aren’t you writing better? why aren’t you making your posts prettier? why are you still not trying to get more readers? why did you even bother in the first place?
So I think it’s time to step back and detach myself from that critical voice (Julia Cameron calls it “the Censor” in her book the Artist’s Way) and address why I wanted to blog in the first place.
As I’ve mentioned before on my very first post, I had a blog when I was 14 and Blogger was just starting up (I’m not joking) But I had nothing to talk about because I was so terrified of being found out at school. Also I have a problem with self-promotion due to extreme embarrassment and modesty and I was unwilling to do the advertising trawl through everyone elses blogs. Back in those days it was more about the coding anyway, you designed a site and it had literally nothing on it except the music and films you liked. Me and my little crowd thought that those who just had blogs were cheating. Where was the fun in that?
So fast forward 10 or so years and I had something to say. I’ve been suffering from depression but I’ve been recovering. I’ve been recovering using these tools I’ve found, using the yoga and the meditation and the running and the reading of books and blogs. I wanted to talk about it, I had something to give, I wanted to give it. I knew that the blog world hadn’t changed from my teenaged blogging years but I wanted in.
It’s hard to put yourself out there, to indifference and to criticism but I know that’s what I want to do. I’m reminded of a man who was on my degree course whose blog I used to follow. He didn’t fit into any particular blogging niche, he just wrote what he felt like. He wanted to be a writer and it was good practice. Month after month he wrote, not getting much feedback, perhaps with only me has his regular reader. He wrote about his social fears, reviews of books, fears of the future, philosophy with never a comment to encourage him to keep going. But he kept going. For years.
That’s the important thing to remember both in this blog and in my painting: no one cares if I do it or not. Once you’ve realised that, do you still want to do it? What do you do it for? Acceptance? Because a teacher once said you were a talented writer/painter and you’ll be disappointing them if you don’t try? These things will only take you so far. You have to do things because you love them and you have to carry on in spite of the deafening silence or the hurtful comments you receive in return.
So I’ve decided: I’ll carry on. Because I’m stubborn and because I want to. I won’t feel inadequate about it anymore. Because really, who is it hurting?
That critical voice is yelling at me about other things too. I had my first commission recently and I painted, painted, painted all through last week completely disregarding my total and utter sadness the whole week. I did it but now I don’t even want to look at paint. The voice is yelling: call yourself a painter? why aren’t you doing more? why aren’t you trying to push your paintings? Until I took a step back and thought, hang on, someone sought me out to paint a picture for their husband’s birthday. She didn’t want anyone else to do it, she wanted me because of the work I did. The work that I didn’t get much acknowledgement and encouragement for but I did anyway.
So the lesson here is: Blog like No One’s reading.
By the way that boy whose blog I used to read? I checked it recently, he now writes about his career on his blog and it is in a thriving blogger community. I’m glad.