I think blogging is one of the scariest easy things to get started with. And I think the elements that make it so scary are precisely the reasons why blogging is such an excellent tool for self-discovery, life changes, and connection.
And when I say blogging, I’m not talking about reposting cool images, gifs, and links you found on Tumblr (which I totally do by the way..except that’s not blogging). I’m talking about the blogging that involves making public your ideas, thoughts, stories, and perhaps life.
I’m talking about writing epic shit (this is by far, one of my favourite phrases, so thanks Corbett :D). Here’s the post (it’s so short..but it’s epic) that inspired the post on writing epic shit..it’s called do epic shit. Favourite sentence from this post that takes less than 30 seconds to read?
Everyday people do epic shit and then become epic. They weren’t born that way.
This is what I was talking about in this post near the end.
The thing is, anything epic that’s ever been written, done, or created was something that caused an immense amount of fear, anxiety, doubt, and heart attacks.
Putting your ideas, thoughts, and stories out there is very hard. It’s very debilitating. Because when you put something out there, it will be judged, it will be looked at, analysed, considered, scorned, praised, shot down, raised up, applauded, and booed. And every one of those reactions is frightening.
A lot of my friends know me for (mostly) being ready to voice my opinions..a lot. I wasn’t always like that, the drive to do well in school cultivated that in me (yeah, I was the girl who’s hand always shot up sky high to answer a question..or rather.. I just blurted it out..less nerve wracking. I have an extreme fear of public speaking, which I haven’t even begun to conquer yet.)
But by now, those kinds of things are safe things to express my thoughts on. I stopped expressing ideas and thoughts that I felt were too different. I know I’m constantly judged, I know what some people think about me, and this stopped me from voicing things that were even crazier and would invite even harsher judgements.
But then I stopped growing. I stopped being interesting to myself. I looked at my life and I found a very boring life. I looked at my days and I saw a blur of staying in my comfort zone. I stagnated.
Blogging me showed me that.
This is my sixth blog in the last ten years.
My first blog was kind of a diary that was (kind of) anonymous. I had a journal but I wrote stuff on the blog because it was cool seeing my words on screen. Then I accidentally told one of my friends about it..and she found a post in which I talked about her and how I was so angry with her I ‘wanted to punch her in the face’. I never mentioned her name but it was pretty obvious who I was talking about.
She emailed me asking why I didn’t ‘punch her in the face’ already?
I was petrified and very ashamed of myself. I still remember how horrible I felt after reading that email. That was the end of that blog.
My next blog was on a diary website, it was locked down, password protected, and never shown to a single soul. I got bored of it and deleted it about three weeks after I started it.
My next blog was on LiveJournal and it was created with a very specific purpose. To share my life with one of my best friends. She had a similar LiveJournal blog to which only I had access. We kept up with each other’s lives that way, shared poems, happenings, emotions, and everything in between. Probably the blog with the most posts of any blog I’ve ever had, yet.
I was almost as free in that blog as I was in my head. Almost. But that’s because I knew the one person who would read those words was a girl who would very deeply get it. So that was okay. But over time, that blog faded.
The fourth blog was one I began right before I went to university. I intended it to be a record of my university life, writing a couple times a week. Except I wrote extremely sporadically. It was my first attempt at something that was meant to be more than a journal but still be kind of personal. It’s still up. My favourite post on that blog is the last post.
The fifth blog was the first one on my own domain, with my own web host, and my first attempt at blogging in earnest. I wrote about a lot of things. I shut it down in December, but I had that blog for a year. I didn’t always write consistently, but I did write. And I learned so much about writing, about my fears, and about the power of blogging from that blog.
By the end of December, that blog was getting more traffic than I had ever imagined my writing ever could. People were pouring in from Google, Facebook, Twitter, and random mentions on other blogs, and were spending an average of 2:30 minutes on the blog (which is a very long time on the internet).
That blog taught me how scary it was to write in public. In reaction to my fear, I started writing really angry posts. The intention behind the posts was good, but I wrote the posts very defensively, very angrily, and very..not nicely, all in prep for the ugly reactions it could possibly have.
By the time I realized what I was doing, why I was doing it, and that it was a really really bad way to react, I had already done permanent damage. I began to view that space hatefully, I stopped writing for fun, I wrote with intense internal pressure, and writing made me feel claustrophobic.
Besides, I rarely got comments on my blog; in that whole year, I had less than 15 comments. Part of blogging is inviting people to connect, comment, and interact with your thoughts and ideas. Finding a community. And that wasn’t really happening over there (completely my fault though).
I registered and bought aurooba.com on a complete impulse. It was out of frustration. Out of desire to write things I felt I couldn’t write about on my other blog. I bought this domain with the intention to just have fun, to do whatever the hell I wanted here.
Well, as it is with most parts of life, things go well when you have fun.
I quickly customized a design for this blog, very simple, no sidebars, understated menu, nothing flashy, and wrote my first post.
Around that same time, I brought fun back into the rest of my life. I started to take photographs again. I posted a recipe I got from Mom. I came back to one of my oldest loves: scrapbooking. I designed and sent out real postcards to celebrate the coming of 2013. I conquered my fear of making paintings larger than normal paper size. I wrote a post I loved writing. I made an abstract-ish painting, conquering another fear: that my abstract paintings will be dumb and stupid. I let my personality shine through with silly posts like this one.
I realized that just because I’m not a scholar doesn’t mean I can’t share my thoughts on Islam, and began by writing this post that was well received. I connected with another Muslim blogger and I can see the very very early beginnings of a possible friendship there and I love that. I wrote meandering posts that unearthed stories, musings, and for some reason got passed around and clicked on a lot, and I thoroughly loved writing it.
I blog because putting my stuff out there helps me refine it, realize it, and grow. I didn’t think it would do that, but it has. You don’t have to write for that to happen. You just have to put yourself out there in some form. I’m a writer by nature, so written form blogging is my outlet. Maybe you’re a podcaster. Maybe you’re a vlogger. Maybe you’re a painter. Maybe you’re a comedian. Maybe you’re a crafter.
Basically. I blog because it makes me a better person. It pushes me to become the person I want to become. It forces me to face my demons and fears. I blog because other people’s blog inspired me and motivated me and helped me. I blog because reading other people’s stories was healing and maybe one of my stories can do the same for a person out there.
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. – Howard Thurman
Do you blog? Do you want to start a blog? Share in the comments. 🙂