I’m embarrassed to admit it, but there are times when I just hate blogging. Now don’t get me wrong, I usually love working on my blog. I get to write down my thoughts and ideas, figure out a way to post a relevant photo or two, edit the post, edit it again, and finally, hit that magic “publish” button. After that, I can count on a few kind souls to hit the “like” button and maybe also leave an encouraging comment on either my Facebook page or the blog page. It’s great feeling to know that someone has actually read and appreciated what I’ve written, and trust me, that kind of validation doesn’t come often from traditional publishing venues.
The problem is my self-imposed schedule of publishing a new post every fourth day. I know this doesn’t matter to anyone else, but when I started blogging I knew I had to have some sort of schedule to keep me on track (I learned this from years of free-lance writing from home. A writer who doesn’t have a strict writing schedule is often a writer who isn’t writing much.) Usually my schedule works just fine, and I only miss when I’m sick or the fourth day falls on a holiday, as it did yesterday. But sometimes the fourth day dawns and I realize I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to write about this time. It’s not long before I begin to panic, thinking that I have, finally, completely run out of ideas and that I will never, ever write anything that anyone else could possibly want to read again. I begin to believe that I simply don’t have what it takes to keep a blog going for the long term.
What I have learned to do when that panic hits is to sit my ample butt down at the computer, pull up a blank Word document and begin writing anyway. It takes a while, with lots of false starts, plenty of deletions and lots of time spent staring at the computer screen, trying to hone in on a single idea that can be developed into a respectable blog post. It’s hard, but I have found that if I keep trying, eventually I begin to understand what what I want to write and how I should write it, and I realize that maybe I can do this after all. After a bit more work, I usually come up with a post I am satisfied with, and my former feelings of despair and failure are replaced with a small sense of accomplishment.
When I was young, I assumed that all successful writers had tons of great ideas whirling around in their heads, and all they had to do was sit down and write them out. Now I suspect that success at writing isn’t so different from success in most other areas in life: the willingness to work hard, day after day, even when you honestly believe you don’t have what it takes to get through the task in front of you. It’s turning a deaf ear to that inner voice that tells you that you can’t do this. It’s slowly learning to believe in yourself, even when it seems as if no one else does.
There are lots of reasons why I am glad I started this blog, from reconnecting with old friends, to finding the encouragement and support of the on-line blogging community, to simply rediscovering the joy of writing when everything finally comes together the way I want it to. But for me, (someone who has always been a bit too quick to quit when the going got tough) the biggest reward has been seeing just how important it is not to give up, to keep pushing myself out of my comfort zone, and to realize just how much I can accomplish as long as I am willing to keep on trying.