I don’t know about other bloggers, but I tend to think about my blog posts for a while before I actually write them. I select a topic that happens to interest me, and then I think of what, exactly, I’d like to say about that topic, and even compose a few sentences in my head before I ever sit down in front of the computer. If I’m lucky, the writing process is smooth and quick, and I hammer out my usual 500 to 700 word post without too much effort or angst.
But there are the times when I just can’t get it right, and when I rewrite the opening paragraphs several times, only to find that I have written myself right into a corner each time. Sometimes I actually have to get up and walk away from my computer for a little while, and then come back and look at my draft with fresh eyes. And when I do that, I almost always realize that the problem is that one of the sentences or ideas I came up with I came up with when I was thinking about the post just didn’t fit when I was actually writing the post, even though I kept putting it into each and every draft. Unfortunately, I had liked that particular string of words so much (it was clever, darn it!) that I was blind to the fact that it needed to be cut. I can be stubborn that way.
Sadly, that stubbornness isn’t limited to my writing. I like to meet new people, try new things, and despite being a fiercely independent person, join new groups. And that’s usually a good thing, as it has exposed me to lots of new ideas, some dear friends and some worthy causes. But there are times when as I get to know a person better, I realize that we have very little in common and have some totally incompatible values. Or that I didn’t like a particular activity nearly as much as I thought I would, or that despite my best efforts, I simply don’t fit into a particular group or organization. And that’s when most people would immediately back off, but all too often, I hang in there, just sure that if I try a little bit harder, everything will work out. I guess I’m afraid of being a quitter, or admitting that I can’t really be all things to all people.
When I was in college, most of my friends pledged a sorority, so despite my considerable misgivings, I decided to join one too. I lasted only three months. Not because I had joined the wrong sorority…it was a perfectly good one, with lots of nice women….but because I’m far too much of an individualist to be the right person for any sorority. Luckily, that was one time when I recognized my mistake early on and addressed it quickly. Everyone was quite nice about it, and even though I quit the sorority, I remained friends with several of its members. If I had tried to stick with it, skipping meetings, complaining, and ignoring rules I didn’t like, I probably would have managed to alienate all the members.
And that’s something I need to remember all these years later when I find myself being stubborn about trying to stick with something that just isn’t right for me. No matter how hard I try, not everyone is going to like me. And despite my best efforts, I’m not going to be an effective and helpful member of every new group I try. And that’s okay. Because no one fits in everywhere, but everyone fits in somewhere.