Yesterday on...can I admit this without internally cringing - facebook - I shared a video shared by a friend shared by someone else titled "3 reasons why you should share your work" featuring author Austin Kleon. I'm not a fan of the word 'should'. And I hadn't heard of the host or author Austin, but I took the 4 minutes to watch the video and was instantly reminded of how those very 3 reasons Austin gifted were at the very heart of how and why I started my blog 9 years ago, and hence became a published author. Without realising it at the time, I started my blog because I had ideas and stories and experiences I felt a calling to share. I also had a very deep longing to connect with other souls like me, and a hidden away dream to become an author. And now I understand it was that deep part of me that found blogging and got me started. To be fairy-like about it, the Universe answered my call. Because after all, it was this very blog that launched my published creative writing career. But in recent years, I lost my way. Before I continue, here is what I wrote on facebook: "As I've been rebuilding my website over the past few months, reshaping it and bringing it into alignment with who I am now, I've also been looking at how I want to progress from this new space. Looking back at how I started blogging, what I loved the most about the experience was the rawness, openness and connectivity that developed and I want to find that again, perhaps it will require carving out a new pathway in the face of how much the format has changed in the last decade. This video below is exactly what happened with my blog when I first started, these 3 reasons to 'show your work' naturally developed and it's how I became a published author. This is so helpful to those who want to do the same. And I'm taking note for my own creative journey ahead as I've definitely gone off track since those early days..."
To elaborate, it was during the manuscript writing of My Heart Wanders, I remember back then in 2010, I felt a struggle and need to separate the content – writing and revealing intimate stories of my life and journey became reserved for the book, and in the process of that need to seperate, I lost the fluidity and rawness and ‘stripped-back storytelling’ I was known for and what I loved about my blog. My posts became more refined, less raw. And 6 years on, I feel the calling again to connect and share getting louder and louder. To just ‘put myself out there’. Perhaps it all came unhinged in the over planning, and the what ifs. In the past 6 years my life has changed so dramatically and even though I haven't been blogging in depth about it, writing has been one of my best healers, though keeping everything locked away in my diaries feels somehow, not the place for it. I think I felt it was a safer place there. I was scared to share as what I've felt has been so raw, so real, there are no pretty pictures that go with them.
But I need to forget about formats and pretty pictures and books now and get back to what I loved about writing on my blog in the first place. The openness. The connection. Yes this can be a vulnerable place to be, but my vulnerability is what I was taught to spend my lifetime suppressing , and it’s what I have now understood I need to nurture.
The lovely editor Amanda Carmen Cromer of My Heart Wanders wrote in reply to my post on facebook:
"Stripped-back storytelling gets me every time. Like the first draft of My Heart Wanders. X"
Her comment got me thinking and inspired me to write this blog post. Then came another comment from Heather Sanders, it was as if she was reading my mind:
"I am sure you know how many you inspire, your book MHW sits in my front room and I turn to it often. I find it not just beautiful but somehow comforting. However, it is in your more unrefined - if that is the right word... posts, blogs, that now speak to me even more. The polished works of all artists whilst beautiful and inspiring separate us somehow. The sharing of more vulnerable, less edited words and pictures connect with people on a different level. They make us believe that the impossible may indeed be possible. They awaken the writer, the artist the dreamer in all of us. For that I thank you."
So while I build my new website, I am figuring out how I want to proceed with blogging. For a long time I’ve been focussing on the idea of sending out a newsletter, thinking it would be more intimate but in recent days I've gone off that idea, as I realised it was yet another form of controlling and fitting into a format, and yet another piece to write. Instead I'm going to stick with blogging in it's straight forward, simple format. I want to be able to share what I’ve read, what I'm creating, what I’ve learned, what Laly’s reading, what’s happening with her, the things we do together... I want to make it loose, light and carefree again. I also want to make it interactive again – I miss replying to comments and my new website will have the feature for me to reply directly to comments. Perhaps I need to give myself a time limit per post, so that there isn’t enough time to refine and self-edit other than grammatical errors. And perhaps I’ll start it with this very post! Yes, this very post: I got up at 6:15am with Laly, I told her I'd be writing on the computer in the office and that she needed to play on her own like she does if I'm still sleeping. She was great for about an hour and has been wanting my attention for the past 15 minutes but I've managed to write this post. Can I post it without images. Can I? Oh that seems like a stretch. But if I don't post it now it won't get posted. Okay, here goes! Breakfast time for us. Thank you for reading and thank you for connecting.
PS maybe I'll add a few images later if I can't bare the nakedness of the post :)