Thursday, November 19, 2009

Belief and transparency

When I began the process of blogging, I had no idea how it would grab hold of my whole Spirit and become such a joyful experience. I have always written, have always held the intent to achieve certain goals with my writing and have been quietly putting those steps in place over time. Blogging sort of fell into my lap unexpectedly and has proved to be an outlet for creativity in a manner that is unique for me. Here, I do not have to please any specific client, adhere to any other schedule or format than the timeframe and template I choose for my blog page, and even those can be tweaked at will. Blogging, therefore, is one step removed, for me, from journaling. Where journaling is my innermost private thoughts written in longhand in artist's sketchbooks, blogging is almost as personal a creative process, written on the computer screen.

That very fact has become a learning process all its own. It starts out relatively simple. You start writing and you post a blog. Then you tell friends about it. At some point, you stumble across ways to promote your blog and you begin to amass people who follow your blog. That's when the realization begins to settle in that, as a result, blogging makes you transparent. By that, I mean that your thoughts are out there for the world to see, via the internet, with the stroke of a key. Hence, what began as just another writing exercise takes on new meaning. People post comments and send emails, replying to a given blog with positive or negative statements. You, as the author of the blog, learn from these comments and you grow as a writer. And you accept that you have chosen to continue to embrace this path of relative transparency. I think a quote by one of my favorite Sages addresses this concept quite well:

"When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it."

~ Winnie the Pooh

This, then, is where I come to the "belief" part of the title of this blog. When I sit down to write a blog, it is 100% of the time because I've had a conversation with someone, read something, heard a song, looked at, or experienced something beautiful and my mind will not leave me alone until I get the words written. I never know how any given blog post will be received by the people who read it. In fact, when friends who follow my blog tell me they read a post, or that they follow my blog faithfully, it still has the power to shock me a bit. Perhaps all creative people have that reaction, not really truly believing in their own talent. This is another indelible lesson that blogging is teaching me - to believe in my own talent.

I have learned over a lifetime of writing, that for me, it is best to just write it out and not critique it too harshly in one sitting. Walk away from it and return the following day, see how it reads from a fresh perspective - this is my normal process. When I adhere to that formula, I am usually quite pleased with what I have created. There are, however, quite often moments when I think that a blog post, or an article I've written just doesn't really hit the note for which I was striving. The final draft doesn't seem to flow freely along with the melody in my mind. Again, I have learned to ignore those doubts, tweak the final draft to the best of my ability and post it. I am finding that a very large number of the posts I have wrestled with a niggling sense of doubt about, in fact, turn out to be the ones that people post the most comments about. Postive comments, at that.

One friend, in email conversation mentioned that (paraphrased here), " felt at the time that it deserved the focus and attention to write it out. I believe that means it should live."

This was in response to my self-doubts and wondering if I had written something too similar to a recent post and if I should delete the post I felt to be of duplicate content.

Another very dear friend and fellow blogger commented on my most recent post, entitled Musical Thoughts with glowing remarks that completely smoothed out those ever present niggling doubts I had had about that post. For a few long moments, I contemplated just not posting that blog entry, for fear that my concept was bit too outlandish for most people to relate to. I was beyond pleased when this friend wrote such positive comments and indicated that I had made an impact in the way he viewed writing. For me as a writer, that is the ultimate compliment and one that I will treasure. It tells me that if I stay in that calm, quiet assurance I have when I am writing, and trust myself and my instincts, the words will flow and will have that impact I am seeking to impart.

There are moments when I write a blog that everything sparkles, the planets all align and the words flow effortlessly, with the final result just making my heart sigh in pleasure. Those moments are more rare than some might expect. Writing is definitely hard work, full of inner struggles, frustrations and tons of doubt, I have found.

So, for me, belief, transparency and Pooh's comments about "Things suddenly not being so Thingish when other people get a look at them" have coalesced into a surprisingly comfortable combination. Indeed, those "Thingish Things" do change when others read them and I find that to be one of the most rewarding aspects of writing, blogging, etc. My own decision to believe in my writing ability and take the next logical step into the transparent world of blogging has opened up a panorama of Thingish Things. While I still struggle occasionally with typical moments of doubt, the greater and stronger result is that I am discovering new depths, layers and dimensions of writing and blogging. Consequently, I am receiving confirmation that perhaps I am making a difference to a small number of people in the process. Nothing makes me happier than to hear that someone has read my stuff and enjoyed the experience. It doesn't get much better than that, so, here's to continuing to embrace belief and transparency.

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