Blogging is hard, and I am struggling. Not for ideas, but for words to fill each idea – words that sound like words that come from my heart. Despite slaving over draft after draft, I’m left with a beautiful casing, and an empty shell; words with no meaning, that don’t really sound like me.
I have always struggled with writing. Not in the sense that I don’t enjoy it, but in the sense that I struggle (particularly with blog posts) to find my voice. I pour over drafts in minutes, to be left with words that, though they sound and feel like me, I can’t help but hate. So I doctor them into clinically ordered paragraphs and sentences, and make them sound impossibly perfect, but I can’t help but remember the draft that I loathed, and wonder if it was as terrible as I previously thought, because this new, impossibly perfect version, doesn’t feel so great either.
ON YES WHALE AND FORCING MY OWN CONTENT
I want this website to reflect all of me – my quirks, my idiosyncrasies, all of the nooks and crannies of my heart (that are mainly taken up by YA, Taylor Swift and Lin-Manuel Miranda) – and so I don’t want to force content that has the base of my heart, but doesn’t have the layers that make up my overly excited, overly passionate, earth-shattering ability to feel.
I think it is an inherent part of my anxiety to remove raw feeling – to cut down on bursts of passion, and make my writing orderly and readable. Yet, there is often so vast and noticeable a difference between draft and finished product, that I question which is me, and which isn’t; whether both are me, or both are not. In addition to that, I often have to sacrifice a conversational tone (that I have come to admire in other bloggers) for order, and it only now occurs to me that the sacrifice isn’t worth it.
As I said, I love writing, despite this entire post appearing as a testament to all of the reasons that I hate it. I love the act of creating. I love my own words morphing into sentences that establish characters that waltz right into my heart. I love writing posts that reflect my passion; posts that might lead to the purchase of a book otherwise left unread. Yet, when I doctor each word, I lose a small amount of that passionate, and (though my need to create still burns), I am reminded of the reason I write this post:
FORCED CONTENT IS NOT ENJOYABLE, and it doesn’t reflect any part of me. It is simply there because I need it, and not there because I want it.
Where does this leave me?
I am not abandoning this blog. Far from it. I have just realised that blogging is very difficult, and is not simply a case of write and you will grow. It is understanding yourself in order to write content that you enjoy, and putting thought and love into every post. And though it frustrates me that in learning to do so, my posting might be a little sporadic (though hopefully I will have one post a week at the very least) I feel it’s something I have to do.
Even though I’m frustrated, I am excited to learn. I want to find a tone that suits me, learn to take better flatlays, and learn to promote my work. If that happens to take a lot of posts that don’t make the cut, 3,000 pictures not posted, and losing followers before gaining them, so be it. I want to work at this and make it a space that I’m proud to call my own.
Despite not having the schedule that I may have wanted, I do know one thing: there will be no more eighteen times drafted book reviews, or posts that I have read through four-hundred and thirty-two times and am starting to hate with a vengeance. There will be passion, and adoration, and words that are completely, and utterly from my heart.
I know this isn’t going to be easy. I know there will always be a voice there to say, you need to rewrite that sentence, or, you need to cut that carefree paragraph, until that sentence has been rewritten four dozen times, and that lovely paragraph has been chopped. But I will try as hard as I possibly can to make my work mine. To give you the second drafts, the pieces of my heart, and not the doctored, orderly snippets.
And who knows, they might be awful, but they might still make you smile.
Why am I writing this?
I write all of this, partly to get all of this angst out of my head (so congratulations (and thank you) if you have made it this far), but also to tell you that you shouldn’t feel the need to force content. My frustration with my own writing inspired the first draft of this post, but this (only the SECOND draft, I promise), was inspired by a post I uploaded earlier today, that has since been reverted to drafts. I knew in my heart of hearts that I didn’t enjoy it; that it was there simply to fill a space that I needed to fill.
After hours of stewing in that dislike, I had a wild thought: I could, you know, take it down. Write something else I enjoy. Wouldn’t that be crazy!
I did it, and felt immediately better, and wanted to come straight back into this draft to tell you all about it, and to remind you that you are perfectly inclined to take a break – long or short. The readers that matter will be here when you return. Don’t post to fill a space, or a schedule; post because you enjoy it, because it means something to you. Your writing will sound better for it, I promise.
Thank you for baring with me if you have read this far!
If you have had a similar experience, let me know in the comments.
Thank you for reading!