Belonging Day 23: On Writing

 

Write

I’m tired of writing so I guess it’s time to write about it.

In case you haven’t noticed, I’ve posted something on my blog for 23 days in a row! There is a movement among bloggers to push themselves to write daily during the month of October, called #write31days. Several thousand people join simply for the challenge, to become better writers, to gain readership for other personal reasons.

The #write31days movement appealed to me this year because I needed to figure out my relationship to writing on my blog. Lately I had been afraid of posting. Afraid that if I didn’t have a really well written piece, I shouldn’t post. I’d wanted to write something meaningful every time I posted, which meant I’d work on it for days. Often I still would not be happy with the results or even post it.

Pure first-born, unadulterated Type-A perfectionism at work. So I clammed up and stopped writing much at all because I was frustrated at the quality of the content. It’s hard to get more proficient at something when you don’t do it; so it ended up being a perpetual cycle of frustration and under-productivity.

And speaking of that, I also loathed the idea of productivity as the main purpose of the blog: “I hope a lot of people read this…or, “What if no one likes it or comments?” The game of trying to drive traffic to my blog was, and continues to be, a life sucker for me. Writers with barely a platform (like myself with my 400 and something like or 2300 and something monthly page views) constantly question their right to exist in the writing world, hanging on to every page like and re-tweet like it’s a gift on Christmas morning. The problem with that is my joy in writing is dependent on how much hoop-la a piece has, not on the mission behind the work or my own estimation of it’s quality.

So it’s come to this. I don’t want perfectionism or making a social media splash to be the main forces in my writing. I feel compelled to do it and at the same time, don’t always enjoy it. And neither can I stop; I tried quitting my blog several times.

So what brings me joy in writing? I like to start conversations that people are not comfortable starting. I like to share spiritual inspiration from every day life and have others do the same in return. I want to come alongside women, not as a teacher per se, but as a co-journeyer in making sense of life. I want to make observations about chaotic, unhealthy, sinful or miserable states and exhort myself and others out of it. I am hopeful that a little community is forming around this blog, one where people can be authentic, safe, encouraged and even…maybe sometimes they laugh a little.

Writing has come unexpectedly into my life, first a faint whisper and now a full-voiced master, demanding that the mental observations of life are put on a page. I haven’t known what to do with this master, how to serve it well but not let it make me a slave.

I know more than I used to about why I am writing and what brings me joy. I don’t have it all figured out, but I’m finding writing, like so many other things of worth, is something that you can commit to for good. There will be times where the relationship ebbs and flows, waxes and wanes, and if you stick with it, your attachment to it becomes deeper all the time.

I’d love to hear what brings you here and what would be most meaningful as I pray about what the next phase of this blog and my writing should be. And just know, I am really, really thankful to have you and others read my writing—it makes me feel like I belong as a writer…even when I post ramblings like this.

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