A few months ago, I made a deliberate decision to stop writing personal posts on my blog. I felt I was sharing too much of myself with strangers and of course people I knew that read my blog. Naturally, I tend to be a bit of an introvert I am a shy person. These are such inconvenient characteristics to have, considering I love writing so much and enjoy photographic modelling; both which end up being in the public domain and open to all kinds of criticism.
So I ventured off to try something new with my blog that didn’t require baring so much of my soul. I decided I to interview people who had a story to tell that was inspiring in some way. In hindsight, this wasn’t a very valid reason to deviate from writing personal stuff. I say this because any good writer will tell you that your best work comes from giving everything you have mentally and physically into any piece of work. I just didn’t realize this at the time but I’m glad I chose to interview people anyways.
I interviewed men and women that all shared the same passion of wanting to create a better space in the world we live in. They all had a unique story tell and I’m glad I had the chance to share those stories in some way. The image above is a glimpse of a few of the amazing people I spoke with. Some of their stories were published on The Huffington Post and most of them can be found on my blog. It was a very challenging experience because as a writer you not only want to tell a good story but you want to make sure you have done your best to reflect each individuals personality.
When you are still an amateur writer every single negative voice plays in your head. It’s always the voices that tell you, “you are not good enough” or “you could have done this a little better.” Sometimes these voices win you over and you really do start to think the worst of yourself. To make matters worse, a stranger might verbalize your inside voices and tell you that your work was garbage. But this is all part of the process. If my work was genuinely
a piece of shit not up to standard, I would like to know so I can work on producing something much better next time. And if it was awesome it would be great to know that too.
After 11 months of hiding myself and not wanting to share personal posts, I will be going back to sharing those posts from time to time as I have also received a few requests on certain topics so why not? Most importantly, I would like to just share my thoughts and opinions on issues that matter to me. I want to find my voice and share the things I have learned.
But for now I want to leave you with 5 things I have learned about sharing my work with that have helped me find the courage to keep writing:
1. You won’t always like what I write and that’s okay
There is that cliche saying that goes, “you can’t make everyone happy blah blah.” All I have to add to that is, let the church say… Amen! I really can’t make everyone happy. I would love to but it’s just not possible.
2. Criticism is not always a personal attack on me, its about my work
I remember when my first article for The Huffington Post got published. My little child like emotions were all over the place. I emailed my mentor Jacqui Owen and had what may have been a mini break down. I was terrified because now my work was out there! And it was open to all kinds of criticism. I was low-key dying inside. She gave me the perfect response which changed the way I view criticism. She said:
“It’s scary to put yourself out there even if it does open you up to feedback/ criticism. It’s part of an important learning process and it’s also good to remember it’s not a personal attack on you, as Alex says, protect yourself emotionally and take the feedback about the work only.”
3. You win some you lose some
Not everyday is a good day in writing land. Some days I have nothing for you guys. As much as I would love to be one of those consistent bloggers who have scheduled posts and share something regularly, I am ashamed to tell you, I simply can’t be that type of blogger yet. Juggling uni and my part time projects, I simply cannot provide that to my readers all the time. Bottom line thought, some days I am genuinely blank. 🙁
4. Stay away from rant posts
Rant posts are the absolute worst sometimes. For some writers this works but for me, its never a good idea to open my Mac Book and start blogging when someone has done something to upset me. I probably have a few rant posts on this blog. Reading back on some of them, I can’t help but scrunch my face.
5. Just give what you have in that moment
I am only 21. I don’t have a degree yet. I don’t have a proper job yet. I have never been in a serious relationship. I don’t have any children. I don’t have any major life responsibilities… and I could probably go on but the point I am trying to make, is I don’t quite have my shit together… yet. So when I write, I am giving you what I have acquired in that moment, nothing less and nothing more. As I progress through life and learn a bit more, those parts about myself will be portrayed in my writing but for now, I am giving you the best I’ve got.