Today the Daily Prompt asks: Tell us about the blog post you were most nervous to publish — and what it was like to set it free.
In my short history as a blogger, without question the scariest post I have published was the first one. Not because it was deeply revealing or personally challenging. Just because it was the first.
I’ve thought about doing something like this for a long time, but there were always lots of good excuses. Not enough time, I didn’t know how, anxiety about putting my work out there for the world to read and comment on, and a good strong dose of imposter syndrome (as in, “what on earth would I have to write that anyone would care to read on a regular basis?”)
The irony is that I fancy myself as someone who loves change and embraces new things. But the truth is I’m really more of a closet coward. And I can spin “not enough time” and “I don’t know how” into an escape hatch for just about any adventure. “I don’t have enough money” is also an enduring excuse, although I am learning that, like most excuses, it can generally be bested by a little bit of creativity. I have a sign that hangs in my bedroom where I will see it first thing when I wake up each morning:
It’s there to remind me daily that if I can imagine something I can make it happen. I really believe that we create many of our own limitations in life by failing to believe that things could be any different.
One by one, the Blog Avoidance excuses started to crumble:
“Not enough time”: Three months leave to recover from hip surgery. And you honestly can’t do leg exercises all day. Suddenly I had time to write. And all that hip-strengthening walking was giving me lots of time to think, which was further fuelling my desire to write.
“I don’t know how”: Actually, everything I have ever done on a computer I have taught myself, so I don’t know why I would ever think this was an issue. But I did. Enter user-friendly WordPress, care of my friend’s awesome blog.
“Anxiety about putting my work out there”: The other major writing project I undertook while on leave was to finish a book-length manuscript that I have been working on for two years. It’s a memoir, of sorts, of a time when I nearly died of a difficult-to-diagnose illness. In the process of preparing a query to send to a publisher, I took some time to prepare a resume of my past publications. It reminded me that I actually had past publications. Get over yourself, Anna. Your work is already “out there.”
“Impostor Syndrome”: The best antidote for thinking that I had nothing to say was reading what other bloggers were saying. Before I hit “publish” I spent some time reading through the blog posts featured in “Freshly Pressed.” I clicked around some of the blogs that I particularly liked. And I said to myself, “You can do that!”
So I waded in. I’m still really only up to my ankles, but the water is warm and welcoming, and I think I’m going to enjoy the swim. It wasn’t really the blog post I set free. It was me.
And while I’m busy busting excuses, I am going to tackle that YA novel that exists half in roughly written scenes and half in my head. Even if I do have to go back to my day job tomorrow.