Life gets busy. Can we all agree? It’s been my goal to post every other day so that I could eventually catch up with where I am on the journey in realtime, but sometimes I slack off. I could say it’s because I’ve been busy hopping country borders, meeting new people, and exploring new cities, but the bigger reason is just simple writer’s block. In an attempt to shake that off, today I’ll talk about why I’m blogging.
The simplest answer is that I want to share my adventures with family and friends. It’s a great medium for both pictures and stories. It’s also a way to highlight some of my memories from the trip in a virtual scrapbook. And there is a lot to learn and experiment with in the features, like keywords, posting schedules, and layouts. I looked for HelpX blogs for a while before deciding to do it on my own but found them few or at least hard to find. Why not share these unique experiences? All that is true, but the real reason I’m blogging is to undertake a personal challenge. I want to improve my writing.
I loved writing even before I could write. At age 5, on one of our many Garage Sale expeditions, my mom bought me a diary. It was pink and ballet themed, with a real lock and key. Each night when she put me to bed, I would dictate the happenings of that day, the occasional animal noise, who my favorite (or not) people were, and my prayers asking for things that I no longer want or need. God never granted me those 100 dogs, but my stuffed animal count might have reached 100 after all. I love looking back at the life expressed in those pages. Paging through, different handwritings occasionally pop up, like when my Dad, brother, sister, or babysitter put me to bed. Later, when I actually could write, I took up the task of filling the book myself. When that was complete, I went on to fill many more.
To this day, that diary is my favorite gift. More than just an object, it was a gateway to a new passion. Through the years I’ve used writing to capsulize memories, unload my woes, build my imagination, and connect with friends. Moreover, I use it to make sense of my world. There’s something freeing in emptying all your thoughts onto paper (or keyboard) and letting them go. It’s a process to sift out the core of an issue and discover what really matters.
Most of my writing has just been for personal purposes. My mom has cheered me on with it for years, but I’ve always to convince myself that I have no interest in writing for public readers. Who would really care to hear what I have to say? Why go through the trouble of crafting something presentable for eyes other than my own? I ask myself those things to avoid the real issue, that I’m shy and sensitive to criticism. Of course, my biggest critic is writing these words. I’m not as good at it as I want to be. My flaws and limitations echo after me with every sentence, calling out to stop, give up, and hide away. That would be easy, but it won’t make me better. The only way I’ll improve and get to a level I’m proud of is by doing it. My best right now might not be my ideal of perfection, but attempting it will bring me one step closer.
“For the things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them.” ~Aristotle
The process of learning can be given in 4 steps:
- Look for mistakes (criticize).
- Learn how to do it better next time.
- Go to 1.
~John-Roger McWilliams and Peter McWilliams, Do It! A Guide to Living Your Dreams
There is one thing that I never anticipated from this exercise – my readers. You! Sure, I hoped someone might read it, but I never expected to get such positive responses. I delight in your comments, get fresh energy from seeing new views, and feel so special when I hear of someone who has been following along. THANK YOU all for your care and encouragement. It means a lot to me.