I am a big fan of The Bloggess. Google her. She’s hilarious.
Here is a paragraph from her latest blog, somewhat dramatically entitled: “Fifteen Things You Absolutely Must Know About Social Media Or Your Face Will Melt Off And Get Eaten By Goats”. She writes a list of fifteen “rules” for successful blogging, and concludes with number sixteen: “There is no 16. There’s not even a 1-15. There are no real rules or magic potions. Blogging success is fleeting, fickle, and largely based on luck (much like everything else in the world). This may seem depressing, but in a way it’s rather freeing. It allows you to write for yourself instead of following a set of rules someone made for you. Find your own voice. Find your own rules. Find a way of measuring success that’s more about freedom and fulfillment rather than page-views and analytics. Page-views mean nothing a year later, but the words you’ve put together may stand and affect others for a lifetime.”
The words she’s put together have certainly affected me. It’s wisdom related to blogging, but it can very easily be generalised to writing. Or, for that matter, to creativity in all its forms. Or, for that matter, living in general. It’s not about success or failure. It’s about finding my voice, using my voice, releasing myself into the world and being who I am without being frightened. It’s about letting myself write badly so that I can learn to write well. Make mistakes in choir so I can learn to be a better singer, a better sight-reader. Take the risk of standing up for who I am and what I do so that I can be that, and do that. Be me, and be unafraid to be me. Because I can only stand and affect others if I’m willing to – you know – actually stand.
Addendum to yesterday’s post: I did walk to work today. I did see the same driver in front of whose car I stepped two days in a row. I did meet her eyes, and we did share an amused smile and a moment of connection. The only difference was that this time I was watching where I was going and I managed not to step out into the road without looking. That’s an improvement, I think.