Being a vulnerable writer

It turns out I’ve been hiding.

I’ve been hiding from the kind of writing that challenges me. I used to think that that meant being more personal and baring my soul.

But I was wrong.

I think there is beauty in being able to write something that not only moves the reader but also the writer.

Not the painful, tortured writer but instead the kind of writing with feeling behind it instead of just words.

It’s hard to find the time to push myself with what I share on The Daily Gemm in-between everything I have going on (and everything I distract myself with). And sometimes I allow myself to be bare minimum because I know I can get away with it.

But I read something beautiful this morning and it moved me. It made me remember just what I love about writing. It got me thinking about how I used to write and how I haven’t pushed myself to explore my writing enough.

I don’t even remember the last time I just sat and wrote without thinking about what I would do with it once it was finished.

I haven’t written a poem in months.

I daydreamed about writing these personal essays about my life yet I rarely write more than a couple hundred words at a time and never get round to even planning the essays.

I’ve been hiding and I didn’t even know it.

 

A writers influences

Whatever is going on in my life will be woven through the words I write.

At times, I’m like a floatie being pulled and swayed in all kinds of directions. But I’m easily influenced and inspired.

From the ages of 16-18 I studied textiles, discovered Seth Godin and read a few books by Dickens.

That trio of things heavily influenced my writing at the time through the language in used. I can see it now but I was also aware of it at the time.

And as time has passed new things have influenced the way I write things like music, nature, relationships etc.

I still have my core style but my choice of words and what I want them to evoke has developed and grown with along with me.

For this blog my writing is heavily inspired by my themes of overcoming fear, self exploration, dream life etc

But I’m also still influenced by Seth Godin after all these years (I’m now in my twenties). I’m also influenced by things that move me emotionally, I’m a feelings person, who has kept a journal for more than a decade so it’s a big part of who I am. I can’t help but let that part of me pour out when I write.

I’d like to think that my influences and inspirations come through but it’s not down to me if they show or not.

That’s for you to decide.

What I think of my old blog posts

The words I shared in January weren’t perfect. In fact they’re on the opposite end of the scale and I winced last week reading through them.

My writing style was not where I thought it was. It’s wasn’t witty, clear, concise and well written like I had hoped.

It was scattered with errors and I’d forgotten to take words out so some things didn’t quite make sense.

However, I was doing something new and getting the hang of writing something I felt comfortable sharing everyday.

But the beauty of doing this daily blogging thing is, each day I have the chance to write something better.

And then bit by bit (or even drip by drip – a reference to something Seth Godin has said many times) I’ll improve.  Maybe practice won’t ever make perfect (what would the perfect blog post look like anyway?) but it will (almost) always make me better.

In a ‘say nothing’ kinda mood

And sometimes the best thing is to say nothing at all.

Because if someone isn’t willing to listen but is willing to argue and disagree you’re probably wasting your time and energy.

But other times the reason to say nothing is because you can’t quite find the words. You’re talking in phrases, stumbling over words and not quite making sense.

Maybe you need a moment of rest, a moment to not speak (or write) or make a grand statement about what you’ve discovered about life.

I’m in the mood to say nothing today but since I committed to saying something daily this is all I have to offer.

 

Why I don’t rely on being inspired to write

Some days are easier than others.

I have days when the words pour out with such ease that it can be hard to keep up. But I also have days when I’ll open my laptop to write and after 30 minutes I’ve gone back and forth on the same few sentences and I have a total of 23 words on the page.

But by posting daily I can’t rely on the days when it’s easy to write because those moments don’t come 7 days a week.

Instead I’ve taught myself to work through the days when the words don’t come as easy and still end up with something I’m happy to share.

I find that once I’m willing to try and write the ‘block’ eventually dissolves and out pour the words.

Criticism and feedback

Which one is worth more?

Often feedback is something you ask for whereas criticism is something you get given.

And so there is the idea that criticism is always negative and feedback is useful which in some ways I think is true.

I think that both are worth something if they’re specific and can be used to make improvements but the circumstance should also be considered.

Letting a restaurant know the food arrived cold is worth more than telling an author that their book was bad because you didn’t enjoy it. Nobody enjoys cold food that’s supposed to be hot but there will always be people that like stories about aliens.

And so it’s not a conversation about criticism and feedback but instead objectivity and subjectivity.

It’s more than what it is

This blog is more than just a blog.

It’s a daily blog.

It’s a writing practice.

It’s a come as you are space where I feel free to write as I please.

It’s a habit.

It’s a commitment.

It’s a hobby.

I’ve been blogging for years and but I never considered how I would feel about having a daily blog where the sole focus was on words. Turns out I love it, I could happily stop writing my lifestyle blog that’s how much I enjoy this blog.

It’s so much more than what it is. After over 7 years of writing online I’ve finally given myself permission to share my words in my own way.

I like a mixture of serious and silly. I can write about feeling afraid, the inner monologue and the importance of exploring yourself. But I can also write about creating a dream life and make up analogies based on cars. 

And then there’s references to Seth Godin, someone who has had a major influence on me alongside pieces that are about moments I’ve experienced.

It’s hard to summarise what this is but it’s definitely more than just a blog.

 

When you’re not in-flow

Having a daily writing practice means that writers block isn’t an excuse I can use.

There are days when writing feels a little more rigid and I suppose I feel ‘blocked’ but I don’t feed it because whether I feel in-flow or totally out of flow I still have to write and share something.

I think one of the easiest ways to loosen up and allow the words to flow is to write and it’s ironic because we’d usually do the opposite.

Perhaps the first 100 or even 500 words might be what you think of as rubbish but once you get past that you get to the good stuff. All of sudden you’re scoffing at that supposed ‘writers block’ knowing that you should have listened to Seth when he said:

Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure.

Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.

Seths Blog: Talkers Block

Day 183

When I started this blog 6 months ago I never really considered what I wanted it to be. I just knew that I wrote a lot and thought it would be nice to have somewhere to share it.

The months have flown by and knowing that I’m committed to finding a ‘gemm’ each day is something I look forward to.

Some days I think I’ve written a master piece and other days I think I’m clicking publish on some of my worst work. At times that can be a difficult thing to navigate but I find solace in knowing that I can share something new tomorrow.

I don’t pay much attention to views, followers, likes or comments in terms of keeping track and trying to make them go up because I know that it’ll take the fun out of things and I like that this place is so free.

It’s my ‘come as you are’ space. And each day I think about life and write what comes to me. It’s helped me to think differently because I don’t want to write posts complaining about how the cancelled meeting messed up my whole day or how a relationship has fallen apart.

Instead I try and focus on the lessons I’ve learnt and the growth points in the challenges I face.

Cheers to 6 months and cheers to 6 more!

A writers confidence

My writing habit was born from journaling which explains why I write with such confidence.

I’m used to writing about my thoughts on life and things I’ve experienced, in fact I’m incredibly comfortable doing it.

Granted a blog is more open than a journal but the practice is the same.

It’s been more than a decade and since I first started journaling and more than 7 years since I started my first blog.

And looking back over 10 years, my writing has improved so much. I can’t promise I’m the best at it but I’m confident that I’m better than I used to be.

Best of all, it’s something I love to do.