I am going to talk unabashedly about how this empty WordPress box makes me feel in this exact moment: Stressed.
Often, I’d rather just pet my cat and ignore the turmoil in my mind that persists until expressed. Much like my gym membership, this blog can be more a source of personal guilt than fulfillment.
It’s unfortunately easy for me to ignore this blog. The internal nag to become more selfaware through writing is something I’ve grown accustomed to pretending I can’t hear. I spend all day in the minds of my clients and their publics, articulating through text what they can’t effectively. Specifically avoiding my own voice and biases, I isolate myself from the process, making it much easier to churn out writing. I don’t get overwhelmed articulating the specifically requested ideas of others like I do when it’s just me, my mind and an insatiable need to write.
Currently sitting in this blog’s “drafts” folder, are at least five blog posts that I would consider about 50% complete. Each contains 500+ words of carefully considered semantics that have been derailed by unattainable standards. No matter how long I stare at any paragraph, on any post on this blog, I will always find words to change, ideas I’d like to expand on or tangents to remove.
– If you read my first blog post, you know that was never what I wanted for this blog.
Knowing I will never be completely satisfied with how I express myself is the largest source of backlog and inactivity on this site (unlike the closure I receive on work completed for work and by clients). Working myself up only makes it more difficult to articulate exactly what it is I am trying to say.
Being concise and compelling requires digging into and slicing away at my mind. Tossing out what I later see as irrelevant begins to feels contrived. After 30 minutes on a headline and hours more on a blog post that doesn’t end up talking about that original idea anyway, I doubt why I started writing to begin with.
So, what am I gonna do about it? This. I am going to publish this post immediately after I finish it.
Already as I am writing this now, I am running through this post in my head, wondering if I have even said anything, questioning why I would ever think people would bother reading this. Have I just repeated myself incessantly? What will people think of me as a professional writer if I’m telling them I struggle sometimes? Why would any stranger on the internet care?
In order to bring myself to hit publish, I have to change the way I think about what it is I am doing:
I write because I have to. I’m compelled to do it from a source within myself. I must write what spills out of me, but people must not like it. That’s ok. If I cater too much to what I think people want to hear, versus what I want to say, this blog becomes another PR campaign and not the repository of reflections on working in social media, journalism and marketing that I intended – it becomes work.
When I scrutinize myself with impossible expectations, the fear of my own criticism keeps me from success. If I were more relaxed with myself and the words that already come naturally, this blog would be much further along. However, like making it to the gym, with each post I do “complete” and surrender to the public, my motivation to do so grows.