Re-booting the Joy of Writing.

When did my editorial critiquing slip into over-drive? When did I shift from being clear and confident in my writing abilities to hiding them and avoiding pen and paper – or keyboard?

My blog originally started as an extension of my personal journal. When I decided to stretch myself into this new technology, I cautiously tested out Blogspot with family for a year or two. I set myself the goal of learning to write regularly and for a specific audience. It was a huge learning curve to figure out themes and formats and all the ins-and-outs of a new program. But I persevered and eventually it became a little easier to dash off a post with links and images. A few years later, as my coaching business grew, encouragement to take my thoughts online also grew. I was nervous, but the 14 or so founding followers were supportive. I had a few replies, a few grammatical errors, a few misinterpreted points, but I carried on. Truth be told, my anxiety increased.

Now, several years later and realizing that my blog sits in a very public arena and hundreds of people who only know me by my online presence read my words, well… it can be unnerving. It’s a scary thing to dance in this “in-between” space of being seen and heard. It’s vulnerable. Some days I feel like it’s bold and brave; other times I just slam down the pencil and walk out. On occasion I just let my forehead rest on the keyboard. Putting my thoughts and feelings into words gets hard and my head and heart get heavy. I have a new respect for that old phrase “words have weight”.

Pause; deep breath. What’s the powerful question that is begging to be asked?

“What if I held those words lightly?”

So, I ask myself, “What if I just choose to let my writing float in midair and land softly?” “What if I choose to set my words into space and trust they will be attracted to those who might find comfort or solace or inspiration in them?” “What if I let go of the string that ties this buoyant balloon of doubt above my desk?” What if I just let myself be an evolving human – faults and all?

Well, I would get to really be ME. I would get to make mistakes and model what that looks like to be real and uncertain. I’d also be free to think and move more naturally within my own world of thoughts and actions. I would not be subscribing to the “feed them what they want to hear” garbage; I’d be walking my own talk. Perhaps tossing out the traditional format of research and outlines would open the window for me to simply ponder on paper in an original and authentic way. Yes, maybe a few readers would roll their eyes, hit “unsubscribe” or write me off as unprofessional. But the tradeoff makes me smile. It would lift the heavy cloak of pleasing others and the pressure of “doing it right” and it would put me back in my writing game. That kind of attitude allows me to be free-wheeling and messy and THAT is exactly the kind of creative environment where I can access my best work.

So, if you are on this blog looking for all the answers: the “Top 5 Ways…” lists, the “Best-Ever” countdowns, the “Here’s how to do it…” – you have the wrong woman. I am a heart-centered individual who – probably, like you – is looking for clarity and connection. One way I can show you who I am is to let you into my everyday thoughts and activities. Truly, these blog posts start as hand-written reflections in my diary.  This is real. This is me.

And so, in the spirit of re-booting, I invite you to consider liberating something you have nearly squeezed the life out of by imposing unnecessary rules and standards. What could you reclaim by giving yourself permission to be imperfect and playful? What’s your re-boot on joy?

Photo credit: Steve Johnson