My family and I just returned from a quick journey up and down the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway. The fall colors were in full swing. We find the mountainous roads fun and relaxing. A little road trip goes a long way toward healing the mind. Things get a little stressful for all of us at times. Many people fail to make time to enjoy the things that bring them peace.
Something I haven’t told very many people is that I’m in the process of writing two books right now. These two projects are something I could have (possibly should have) been doing a long time ago. I just never stopped long enough to gather my thoughts, get busy, and write. Procrastination is often an issue with me. More importantly, I tend to lack the belief in myself and the trust that would enable me to easily tackle a project as challenging as writing a book. Every time we drive down those scenic Carolina roads, the inspiration for me to get those stories down on paper takes over me. In my opinion, writing is fun and easy but the process of writing a book I have found to be more difficult than writing when you have complete freedom of expression. The thoughts come out naturally when I’m not confined to the meticulous process of editing. When I begin to focus on the details of editing my work, writing becomes difficult. Making sure I don’t over do it or burn myself out is a necessity. This is why I do other side projects such as writing poetry and this blog.
These side projects are a fun form of stress relief for me. The genuine feeling of freedom I find in this casual method of expression makes me happy. Writing an entire book is also a very long process and I’m a person that likes to share my thoughts with others. Hearing what my readers have to say is also interesting. The blog form is a great outlet for this desire, this flavor, of interaction. I don’t write in an attempt to get people to say good or bad things about my prose. I am not a “fisher of compliments”. A great deal of time has passed since the last time I have been this proactive in pursuing my true passion.
I urge each and every reader of my blog to think very hard about what it takes to make you happy and try to make time for this activity every day. Whether it be playing an instrument, joining a sports team, or even exercising, make time for it. Not long ago, I went on another one of those road trips similar to the one I just got back from yesterday. During that trip I grabbed a notebook and a pencil and began to write the same way I had years before. The words flowed so naturally that the therapeutic feelings from my past experiences with writing came flooding back to me. Ever since that day, writing has become a daily activity. By no means is writing the “cure all” miracle healer but it sure helps to be involved in something that burns from within me. Whether my style of writing is considered shitty or amazing, mediocre or sub par, it’s what’s made me feel complete for a number of years.
If you’re doing something you know is right which allows you to express yourself there’s no right or wrong way to do it. This brings me to tell you about an email I received about my blog from someone’s who’s close to me. That person felt compelled to give me list of “things to help get more readers” that went as follows:
1. Don’t use so many commas.
2. Stop using non essential clauses.
3. Always use correct grammar…………………….
The list went on and on and nowhere did it state anything about the content of my writing. I strongly believe (even though the person who sent me the “advice” is a good person) he/she had a hidden agenda. The offender also never bothered to ask why I created the blog site, what my goals are for it, or what I hope to accomplish through this forum. Instead, the email only mentioned a shit list of things I was doing wrong. Let’s also not forget to add, I never asked for the so called “advice” in the first place. The little professor friend of mine proved helping me wasn’t the goal of the message this message. My “advisor” made his/her intentions very obvious by opting not to comment on the site about the content or follow my blog page. Support would have been nice. Instead, the “asperger’s analysis” ended up on face book, the exact place I didn’t need it to be.
Some people get discouraged when told they aren‘t good enough. Couple your own self doubt with someone else’s negative feedback and even the strongest willed person can get setback. In my opinion, the way to get the most readers is simply by being yourself. A genuine form of expression usually attracts a nice audience. This blog is written for fun and that release keeps me going. I’ll often gladly accept a little constructive criticism; however, I think I’ll pass on making changes to any of my posts, as the world doesn’t need another predictable blog site written in that same cookie-cutter format.
Even so, I will not kid myself into thinking that I won’t need a great deal of assistance on my books as far as editing is concerned. That two cents could have been better spent somewhere else. I don’t need it, but I do need my friends and family to check out the content of the blogs and give me some opinions on the subjects of the articles.
My point is you shouldn’t second guess yourself when it comes to your passion. Many of us will find reasons to talk ourselves out of doing the very things that bring us joy. Sticking to your roots is not always the easiest route. Find or rediscover your source of pleasure and rely on it to get you through challenging times, no matter what people say. My advice to others is to never change……….and tell the haters to keep the change$.