What if no one reads my blog? What if someone leaves me a really mean comment? What if I’m criticized? What if my ideas are only interesting to me? What if this blog is a mistake? What if I just go to sleep, instead?
Four years ago today, those were just a few of the questions that shook every bone in my body as I sat in my bedroom with the lights off, in the wee hours of the morning, and started this blog.
I think back to that moment quite a bit. It’s a good one.
At no point in my life did the thought of starting a blog ever cross my mind, until a few days before I actually did. As weird as it sounds, it felt like something I had to do. As if the universe was pushing me in that direction.
And I’ll be honest, most of my life has been like that – where all of a sudden I feel compelled to do something I’ve never even thought about before.
Early on in this blog’s life, I was always so worried about every sentence, and every word, and every comma, and every semi-colon, and every little detail. It ate away at me as I put words on the screen. I would write three sentences and delete two and a half of them.
I felt like it had to be perfect, or someone would criticize me.
After a few months of being a “sports blog”, I reached a turning point.
It was the first September in about 18 years where I wasn’t going to be at school. I was missing it like crazy. My friends, my roommate, my late-night walks to McDonalds. Everything. You name it, I missed it.
I tried to convince myself to write about sports that night and just ignore this huge weight inside of me, but I couldn’t do it. So I talked myself into writing about missing school. It didn’t take long.
And that’s when I stopped caring about every single word, sentence, comma, semi-colon, and detail. That’s when I learned how to write from my heart.
If you want the secret, here it is.
I imagined that everything that was holding me back from being completely honest in my writing, was all stuck in my shoulders. So I shook my arms until I could feel the words exit through my fingertips.
That sounds extra cheesy and really lame, but it’s what I did. And if I’m honest, I still do it whenever I feel like I’m over-thinking the words I’m writing.
I figuratively strip myself of everything that is preventing me from saying exactly what I feel. Because once those restraints are gone, all that remains is my heart.
I knew as soon as I pressed “Publish” on “I Miss School, Already” that it was something special. And later that night when I received word from WordPress that it was going to be featured, my first reaction was, “Of course it is, it’s the first thing my heart narrated.”
That post connected with people in a way I wasn’t expecting. I had always thought the Internet was a mean place, where strangers fed off of your honesty and insecurities. I was fully expecting 80% of the comments to tell me to “Get over it” and “Stop whining about the past.”
I didn’t get that.
I showed people my heart and they showed me theirs. I couldn’t believe it.
I had people from different corners of the planet tell me I had saved their college experience. Say what?
It’s weird. I went from being afraid that no one would read my blog, to being afraid that I reached over 1000 views in a day. I was overwhelmed and my body was shaking constantly. That is not an exaggeration, trust me.
From that point on, I felt free. I felt like I could take my inner voice and put it directly on a computer screen without thinking twice.
I knew that if my intentions were good, then it wouldn’t matter what anyone commented on my blog. Fortunately, I figured out that WordPress is nothing like YouTube and people here are actually nice and supportive.
I started expanding the things I wrote about. All of a sudden I was writing about music, television, and food. Then I somehow started digging into poetry and fiction and completely random posts that I don’t even know how to explain.
Shoutout to Chef Paulo – a fan favourite, somehow.
As I got more comfortable with myself and the things I was writing about, people started following what I was doing.
I never knew I could make so many friends around the world without leaving my house. A lot of them were for a short period of time, while some have been a notification in my queue for years.
That sounded dirty.
I often say that blogging is like talking to yourself, and then realizing someone heard you.
There are so many rules about how to blog, and what to write about, and how to present your thoughts. I try not to follow any of them – it’s just not me.
I never know what I’m going to say when I sit down and write a blog post. I also don’t know when the words are going to come out. I just sit down with a topic and maybe one line that I wrote down on my phone, and go from there.
I can’t write half a post, walk away, and come back the next day and finish it. It has to be in one take. I can’t schedule a post three days in advance. I can’t plan ahead.
If I sit down to write and I feel like I’m forcing the introduction out of me, then I close my laptop and go to sleep. (I write in the middle of the night). Because if I have to force it, then the words aren’t ready to come out yet. That’s my philosophy.
I write until I’m satisfied. I don’t write until I hit a recommended word count. If I did, I’d press “Publish” and still feel “heavy” – this is what I call it when I don’t say everything I want to say. It’s like the words are still inside of me and are weighing me down.
“I feel heavy.”
Writing should be a release from that heavy feeling. That’s why when you read something written from the heart, you call it “heavy”. Makes sense, right?
I’ve written some posts, mainly poems, where I finish typing the last word and immediately start crying. That’s how I know I’ve written something special. That’s how I know every last word is out of me. And when I stand up, I feel so much lighter. It’s an incredible feeling.
I’m not here just to write random words. Everything has to mean something, whether I put smiles on faces, raised eyebrows on foreheads, or a proverbial arm around shoulders.
I’m not aiming for apathy on your end, or mine. If you’re going to read my blog, I’m going to try and make sure you walk away with something from it. I would hope you do the same.
This blog has given me so much and has taught me even more. It’s made me realize how powerful our words really are. We have the ability to say anything we want, all we have to do is put words in the right order.
When you do that, beautiful things happen.
And I mean that from the bottom of my heart.
This post was featured on Discover on July 17, 2017.