Day 9: Get Inspired by the Neighbors
Over the course of this Blogging 101 class, I have lost count of how many blogs I’ve visited, liked, commented on and followed. I am in awe of how many talented people I have run across as I try (unsuccessfully) to read everyone’s posts. It is truly humbling.
As part of yesterday’s assignment, I commented on several posts and two particularly resonated with me. The first was “Writing – With or Without Inspiration” by Ashley Kagaoan, who discussed the importance of a writing routine, even when your muse is silent. The other was “Embrace Your Voice” by Kerwayne Perry, emphasizing the importance of being your authentic self in your writing and not following the herd.
As I read both of these bloggers’ posts, I pondered what it really means to be a writer. I don’t always feel qualified to refer to myself by that title because of the many things that I allow to get in my way. I wait around for the muse, and if she doesn’t come, I don’t go out looking for her. I know I can write, but am I a writer?
All of this pondering reminded of the book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. It details four agreements that everyone must have with themselves to lead their best life. This book’s message really stuck with me and I repeat the agreements to myself often in many aspects of my life.
Here are the agreements as presented in the book:
I realized that I could perhaps apply them to my writing life as well.
- Be impeccable with your word – This is where Kerwayne’s post really spoke to me. My words need to be uniquely mine. They need to express what I want to say, and not what I think people want to hear. When we strip all of the bells and whistles away and get to the nitty-gritty of our message – are we saying something authentic, or just mimicking the latest trend? Even in a silly, lighthearted blog post, I want it to be me.
- Don’t take anything personally – I have always dreaded criticism. I’ve spent many a performance review holding back tears when the boss would come to the things where I needed improvement, even if I agreed with them. The fear of people not liking what I write has often kept me from getting on with it. With age comes wisdom, so I’m less sensitive than I once was. I still have butterflies in my stomach as I press “publish,” but I know that someone’s harsh judgment of me is often more about their “stuff” than mine.
- Don’t make assumptions – As you sit down to write, how many of you have said “that’s not interesting; no one wants to hear about that.” This voice is in my head more often than I care to admit. In the past two weeks of Blogging 101, more than 29 of you have helped me tell that voice to “shut up!” by choosing to follow my blog. I will no longer assume that there is no audience for my silly stories and sarcastic way of looking at life. Twenty nine followers is a spit in the ocean, but that’s 29 more than I had 2 weeks ago! The encouragement I have received is truly lovely and has taught me a valuable lesson. It has me excited to keep going. Thank you all!
- Always do your best – Just like with yoga, which I love, writing is a practice. When I practice yoga, I often wobble in a pose or sometimes even crash to the floor. I’ve learned to accept that on my yoga mat and need to do the same with my writing. I will write things that people don’t get; I may offend someone; I’ll probably write things that are just plain bad. But as long as I show up, stay true to who I am, and just put words to paper (or screen), I am indeed a writer.