Things are getting personal again today. I keep this blog not only as a memoir of our travels, but also as a place for personal reflection and an outlet for the jumbled thoughts in my brain. I feel like I used to write a lot of deeply personal posts back when nobody read, and I see no reason to stop now. :)
A while back, a certain someone close to me* told me that I’m not a good writer and that no one will care about what I have to say.
I started this blog anyway, thinking that at the very least, I’d have a digital scrapbook of my and D’s travels. I was prepared for it being a lot of work, but I never imagined how emotionally draining it could be.
As much as I tried to wash them away, those words stuck with me. Even as I built a small readership over the past year (and I cannot express how grateful I am for everyone who comes here to read and comment), I never could dare to believe that I could be a real blogger/writer. There was so much that I was simply just not good at. And each of my own perceived failures planted a horrible seed of self doubt that continues to flourish, despite my best efforts to bury them deep within the muddy recesses of my mind.
… Others are making money from their blogs and I haven’t made one cent, because I’m not smart.
… Others have had their blogs for shorter but have more page views, followers, likes, etc., because I’m not as likeable of a blogger.
… I can’t think of interesting post ideas, because I’m not creative.
… My stats have dropped for the past couple of months, because no one cares anymore about what I have to say.
… I’ve been staring at a blank screen for hours and I can’t think of one single word to write, because it’s true – I’m a horrible writer.
As you would have it, over time, these little tiny seeds of doubt have matured into fully grown trees. And lately, writing has become more heartache than fun. There are days I just want to bury my head under the covers all day, afraid to face the inevitable frustration when I turn on the laptop. And when I eventually force myself to do so, that blank screen just sits there, mocking me. My head is cloudy and I struggle to form coherent sentences. I type and delete and type and delete and an hour later, still have nothing to show for the time.
When D asks me what’s wrong, I’d tearfully cry into his chest, “I can’t write. The words aren’t coming anymore. I don’t think I want to blog anymore.”
He doesn’t exactly understand why this makes me so sad, but he tells me not to give up.
I started this blog in hopes of making some loose change to help out on our travels. But more than that, I wanted to entertain and transport people to different worlds. I wanted to be relatable, be personable, and be honest. I wanted to become a good writer.
And I wanted to find a new purpose through writing.
When I was getting ready to go from a full-time engineer to full-time traveler, I was actually afraid that my life would lose purpose. I’ve never not had a job before and I was worried that I’d be bored and/or feel useless without doing something. So when I did quit my job, I channeled all my energy into writing for this blog. I thought “Yes! Writing/blogging is now my new purpose!” But as the months passed, with so many (perceived) failures, the bright light that harbored this new dream grew dimmer and dimmer.
Over the months, D’s encouraged me to submit my writing, to sign up for classes, to share my blog. I’ve always conveniently happened to be too busy to do so. But if I’m being honest, it all goes back to one thing: that voice in my head telling me that I’m not good enough. That I can’t produce anything that’s worthy enough to be published on someone else’s site.
Then I realized: I’ve been self sabotaging myself all along. I had listened to those hateful words on repeat and allowed them to become my truth.
So this year, I have only two resolutions:
- The first is that I need to be kinder to myself. Stop comparing. Listen to the positive voices around me and start to cut down that horrible tree of negativity.
- The second is that I’m not going to give up. Not only that, but I want to really work on my writing. That said, I am thinking about taking an online writing course (I’m looking at MatadorU’s, even though I don’t particularly like their articles….you know how I feel about lists… so I dunno), so let me know if you have any recommendations for courses or books.
I didn’t write this to garner sympathy or compliments. I simply want to keep an honest reflection of my journey, including my struggles. But here’s what I’d love from you: let me know how you get through writing struggles or moments of doubt. How do you find motivation when it’s low?
And please, stick around. Once I clear up a bit of the fog up in here, it’ll be back to regularly scheduled travel reporting :).
* D would like to clarify that that certain someone is NOT him.