In my head you’re asking, “are you still doing that guest blogging thing?” Yup, still. It’s been three weeks since I started. Now that the end is finally in sight, I’m ready to write a little about what I’ve learned from this experience. Some of these things I expected and some have taken me by surprise
1. Creative restrictions can be helpful. David Gray tells this story about when he was commissioned to write the title track for the movie This Year’s Love. He was uncomfortable with the idea of writing under such restrictions, but he needed the money to help finance his next album, so he did it. What he found was that being limited to a particular idea was actually enjoyable (and resulted in an amazing song). I’ve found that too (minus the brilliant song). When I started I worried that someone would ask me to write something and I wouldn’t be able to do it. Some posts have taken me more time to see my way into, but that’s a challenge that has actually been kind of fun.
2. I can write about a lot of things. This is a personal blog, so I’ve always given myself permission to write about whatever interests me. Over the years, I’ve covered a lot of topics, but it always happens that I get focused on a few things at a time and write several posts in a row that are all an effort to articulate the thoughts in my head at that moment. I start to feel like a broken record instead of a person who’s just going through a phase. Being asked to blog about different topics has been a nice reminder that I can still write about a variety of things even if they aren’t at the forefront of my mind. I can also take on topics I’ve never considered before.
3. I can use my personal experience to make points. Here on my own blog, I feel pretty comfortable talking about myself, but one of my doubts in writing guest posts was whether other people would really want to read about me. I write academic papers and fiction, so I’m pretty good at disguising that I’m writing about myself when I am, but I didn’t really want to do that. I trusted that if I could offer some kind of insight into my own experiences, then they would be relevant to other people.
4. It’s okay to get off balance. I haven’t done any reading in the three weeks I’ve been working on this project. I’ve always struggled to find the balance between reading and writing, but in dedicating all of my time to writing, there was just not enough time to read as well. But, I think going to one extreme for a while to focus on a project is perfectly fine. Now I am dying to pick up a book, which was not true three weeks ago. The contrast of extremes always keeps me engaged.
5. Big goals follow the same pattern. I immediately started comparing this challenge to getting out of debt even though they don’t appear similar at all. It’s just that when you begin something big, you’re first excited and then you’re less excited but feel like you’re making progress and then you feel like you’ve got this whole thing figured out and then you feel like you’ve been doing this for a long time but you’re nowhere near the end and then you lose heart for a while and then you’re fully discouraged but keep going and then you put your head up to realize you can actually see the end and then you make the final push though you feel kind of fragile and then you get to the end to collect high fives and then you’re like, “what next?” You have to just keep going, even when it’s not fun and you’re uncertain, because the excitement will come back again.
Now, here are the posts from last week:
“He’s Probably Thinking . . .” on Small and Charming
Natasha gave me the freedom to write about whatever I wanted, so I took the opportunity to write about my current frustration with communication. I’m coming to realize that it’s just a difficult thing, and I can get better at it, but I can’t expect it to ever be easy.
“This Battle Is Won” on Klutzy Ballerina
Anna asked me to write about challenges, so I wrote about the thing that until recently was at the root of almost every challenge I faced: the war I was waging against myself. You know, negative self-talk, perfectionism, and other fun misery-making things.
“Traces of Identity” on Good Old Rock
Matt asked me about the personal implications of existing on the internet. I covered the topic from the point of being remembered after death to the immediate reality of anyone who knows your name being able to read all about your feelings.
“The Story About Ian That Ian Doesn’t Know” on Dutchface
As #VEDA approaches, I thought I would tell a previously untold story about how I first became friends with Ian.
“On Inspiration” on Musings Of A Girl
Where do I look for inspiration? I don’t look anywhere. I just get to work.