Over the last few days, I have been giving thought to a few of the questions people often ask me. And that have been asked of me recently, possibly because of the emotional state I have been over the last year.
One of first questions people ask is ‘why do I write’ or ‘why do I blog’? The answer is simple. I started journaling a long time ago, to empty my head, see the words and thoughts on paper so I can analyse them, critique them, appreciate them, solve and sort them. It helped especially when I was feeling particularly angry or frustrated. Scribbling the hateful words on paper helped me clear my head to give space to good thoughts and feelings. Especially during those dark times. And in better times, just seeing the happy ones magnified the feeling by releasing the joy out in to the universe.
The second is ‘why publish it?’ It was a friend who initially suggested it. At the time, I was confronted with so much ‘drama’, but was coping very positively and she wanted to know how. On explaining my theories, we discussed how much it could inspire or help others experiencing similar circumstances. Over the last few months, however, I have considered stopping making my journaling public.
However, just as I was about to pull the plug on my #dailyblogchallenge, I started to read a new book – ‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of the book ‘Eat, Pray, Love’. I wasn’t sure initially why I was continuing with my blog but she has made me see that what I am doing is my own form of art and that art should be shown and shared. And as with all art, not everyone has to like it and almost indefinitely, everyone is going to have an opinion on it. But art put out there should be critiqued and held as a discussion point. That’s a complement! And the way I write, I like to think of it as art. I craft my words. I paint pictures with my words. Just as others use brushes or a lens.
I remember disliking English Literature quite fiercely at school and also not doing particularly well. My parents couldn’t understand why as I used to fill notebook after notebook of writing stories, when I didn’t, I had my head in a book to read. It was simple really. I didn’t like combing through a beautiful script of poetry by Seamus Heaney or passage in one of my favourite Dickens, answering ‘why that turn of phrase?’ or ‘why that word to describe..’ I didn’t and still don’t think that artists think like that in the moment. They are in flow with creativity and by that I mean deeply connected to their thoughts, emotions and feelings about the subject in front of them or the ones in their mind. They are letting whatever it is ‘flow’ through and from them and on to the page, in colour or in script.
Do I worry about audience or people reading it? When I write, I write for me. Thinking only of my thoughts and me re-reading it. Initially, I didn’t think anyone would read it. Now I know people do, I still write in the same way – my thoughts, emotions flowing through me, knowing that I never have to put anything out there if I don’t want to. There have only been a couple I haven’t published.
And just like any art, you can stop and stare at it, focus on a small part of it, love it, hate it, talk about it, be inspired by it and want to do the same or similar… or you can just walk or scroll on by.
And then do I enjoy it? I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t. I wouldn’t make time every day to fit it in around a busy life if I didn’t. Just like an affair… you find 10 minutes, 30 minutes, moments, to do it. A guilty pleasure. Although mine isn’t a secret. I am out. I am a writer. I practice writing daily. It’s the only way to get good at something.
So while I had considered stopping, I will continue, despite feeling so vulnerable and often full of shame and embarrassment as I open my thoughts and feelings to criticism in whatever form, just as it incites admiration, inspiration. And I will continue, even when the one negative point of view obliterates all the other many, many positive, encouraging, good ones.
I love so many of Elizabeth’s quotes from Big Magic about creative living. And this one is one of my favourites in finding your creativity and therefore your life’s purpose. Let’s all go jewell hunting!