I can be rather self-critical about my writing abilities. The fact that my style is unconventional doesn’t help but does make it more fun for myself when I write.
After reading bunch of blogs from people I knew and didn’t know (otherwise known as the entire blogosphere), and after having a idea in the shower (which later turned out to be my first post), I went for it. Setting up the WordPress account was easy enough, as was typing up the words to match the idea. The hard part came after I published it.
I write for myself, using the second person because I’m just used to it from debate and speech, but for myself. I clearly remember the moment I hit the “Publish” button on the screen and saw the confirmation that the post was published. I felt proud. Then I felt self-conscious.
What I wrote wasn’t like those posts I’d read in other blogs. The words were off. The style just didn’t feel the same. And that this stuff came from my fingers and mind just made it even harder to like the stuff I wrote. But hey, I thought if I kept on writing I would eventually get to a point where I would get used to the things I wrote.
Like, seeing yourself on camera. Back in high school, I was an anchor and technical producer for Viking News Network, my high school’s TV announcement system. Thinking back, that was another situation where I judged my work much harsher than others’. Seeing myself on screen and hearing my voice letting the student body know about Horticulture Club’s plant sale, I kept spotting mistakes I made and things I could have done better.
The thing I didn’t realize is that I was breaking the number one rule I gave my speech novices as their speech captain: “YOU know what you did wrong, but your audience doesn’t. Whenever you make a mistake or a slip-up, take it in stride. Take note of it, sure, but don’t let it get to you until enough time has passed. Then you can take a look at the what, why, and how–and take steps against it.”
Back in my VNN anchor days and now, in my collegiate bloggeriffic days, that tendency to judge myself harsher than others is still highly prevalent. My style is unique: in diction, use of wit, energy, and rhythmic flow. And that’s a pretty swell thing!
So yeah. I guess my stuff may never be as good as some of the bloggers I love to follow. But you know what? It’s my stuff. I have to feel a little bit of pride seeing the posts on my website, a little bit of ownership in knowing that those are my thoughts out there, a little bit of giddiness when I see someone reads or likes or comments on one of my articles.
That does mean that I have to feel a little sad when I post a dud or a generally crappy article. But all in all: I’ve just got to keep getting comfortable with my own style and my own stuff. In her junior year speech, my girlfriend found a quote by Max Ehrmann, the author of Desiderata, which read: “If you compare yourself to others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.”
I know my style, and my skills, and where I need to improve. That’s what I need to focus on. Looking in the rear-view mirror to see where my competition is will only make me crash into the car in front of me. And looking too far ahead without looking at the mirror will result in a nasty surprise from the passing lane.
I’ll never know which post will have which effect on which audience. All I can do is keep writing, keep looking in every direction, and keep living.
At the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.
PS: What kinda of bloggers was I talking about when I was talking about comparisons?