I had a momentary lapse of judgement a while back. I somehow decided it would be a good idea to sign up for something called, “What I like about your blog.” Really? What was I thinking? I am not known for my steely nerves or my overwhelming confidence. In all honesty, I am a pretty fragile blogger. Writing is still new to me and I am still “in process” with so many of life’s big questions that I easily feel overwhelmed when criticized, even lovingly.
I try so very hard to write from my heart and my soul every time I enter this space. Because of this effort to share my deepest feelings with you in any given moment, because I feel this need to be sincerely present with you, my readers and my friends, I am often left feeling emotionally raw and extremely vulnerable after I finally work up the courage to click that “publish” button. Blogging has turned out to be one of the most difficult, but simultaneously most rewarding, things I have ever done creatively.
I started this blog late one night without any clear goal or message. My intention was to simply share what happens within myself and my family as we venture away from a conventional life toward a life that feels more resonate for us. I only felt a strong and undeniable pull to create this space – I had no idea the shape or form it would take on, nor the voice I would find to speak with. I had no expectations that my words or reflections would be of any interest or value to anyone other than me. To my great surprise, and with humble gratitude, I have been floored by the positive feedback I have received from both long-time friends and from complete strangers. It seems I might be on to something. Exactly what, I’m still not sure, but something here feels right and you have told me so.
So, back to my lapse in judgement. Let me explain this “What I Like About Your Blog” thing. Late one night I stumbled onto a website called Inspire Me Heather that proclaimed,
Dear bloggers: Would you like to have some other bloggers give you an honest critique of your blog? You won’t know who they were either. You can take their advice or dismiss it as you please.
The premise seemed simple enough, two anonymous bloggers would take a look at my blog and offer me honest feedback. I, in turn, would be required to do the same for two other bloggers. When all of the reviews were finally collected, the hosting blog would send us a link to a private page where we could read this collection of peer reviews.
Okay, I thought, maybe this will open my eyes up to any blind spots I may have about my own space. Maybe someone will tear me apart, maybe someone will “get” me. Maybe this will help me grow. I think deep down I was simply hoping someone would say, “Good job, keep it up.” Regardless, my insecurity and need for approval reared its ugly head and before I knew it I was registered. Gulp.
I eventually received an email directing me to two blogs that also had decided this endeavor was a good idea. Let me tell you, I broke a serious sweat examining and reviewing these blogs I was assigned. I explored every corner of their virtual worlds and wrote sincere and in-depth feedback. I tried to write from my heart and to offer them a fresh and thoughtful perspective on their work.
In return, I received one review that was just a few sentences long from someone who obviously only gave Less & More a quick once-over on their mobile device. Sigh. I was disappointed, but what could I do other than to immediately release that one? My other review was a bit more thoughtful and I felt like the reviewer actually took some time to digest what Less & More has to offer. She wrote one thing that I felt did warrant further reflection,
The content is great and the bloggers writing style pulls me in like I’m reading a book, however, the blog seems to shift its voice from a deep introspective prose to a recipe or just a photo. I feel that this gives some inconsistency in the flow of the content.
After reading these words, I immediately called my husband. I’m a verbal processor, so I needed to talk my reactions out. He knew that these reviews where coming, and with loving kindness he made time for me during his busy work day. We had talked back and forth about some of the specific points my reviewer had made for a while when he asked me a great question. He asked, “Have you read Chris’s latest post over at his blog, The Art Of Non-Conformity?”
Why, no, I hadn’t.
I have heard my husband mention this blog, The Art Of Non-conformity, from time to time over the past weeks and months. I knew that Chris, the bogger, was a world traveler and that he made his living writing and blogging. My impression of him was that he was living a pretty amazing life in alignment with his unique values, but that we probably didn’t have much in common. I’m a picture-taking, yoga-practicing, deeply rooted mother of four while he is a childless writer, entrepreneur and globetrotter. Reading his words humbled me once again. We are all undeniably connected, aren’t we?
It turns out that along with his world travels, his mission is to empower others so that they are able to find the lives that resonate for them. His blog is both entertaining and packed full of tools, offered without charge, to help guide those ready to embrace a life of non-conformity. (Who… me?) He writes to those individuals eager to make their living as full-time writers and bloggers. He does this without advertising, without posting a zillion times and day and without relying on most of the conventional tricks of the blogging trade. He is truly remarkable, and exactly the medicine I needed while recovering from my momentary lapse in judgement. His words stopped me in my tracks. He writes,
If someone doesn’t know you, why should they care about what you have to say? Facing down this question can be humbling, but it’s also crucial to your success. You have to plan to answer the “reason why” as soon as possible. What’s in it for the followers?
Wow. That little gem has had me thinking for days now. What exactly is my “reason why?” Why do I do what I do here? Beyond basic documentation, beyond simple journal style self-reflection, why do I write in this space four or five times a week? Why do I put myself on public display? Why do I offer myself up for judgment, when I know I am so deeply sensitive to it? This is the work of personal growth that Chris writes about and the work that I am doing every single day.
Like so many things that happen in my life, my temporary lapse in judgment has turned out to be an unexpected blessing. This superficial need of mine to be validated sent me down a very unexpected and meaningful train of thought. Just what am I trying to say here in this space I have created? Am I ready to make a few changes so I can connect more clearly with you, my friends and my readers? How does this blog of mine fit into the grander picture I have for my life, for my family’s life? Oh, there is so much more reflection to be done, so much more reading to do, so many more plans to dream up.
I’m excited and my mental wheels are smokin’!
I think that a few changes may be in order around here. In fact, I already have a few ideas. For now though, I will continue as I have been. Change takes thought and time. As I finalize my plans and put them into motion, I promise you will be the first to know. My loyal friends and readers, even as I experiment with this space and struggle to find my voice you always manage to lift me up. I may have temporary lapses in judgment, and bouts of overwhelming anxiety, but your support and love and encouragement are a huge part of what keeps me coming back again and again. Thank you for joining me on this journey.
I would be deeply grateful to now hear your thoughts. Although I am sensitive to criticism, I trust you. I trust you to speak your truth and to help me stretch creatively. Please, be honest and forthright with your words. What keeps you coming back here? What could I do to make this space more meaningful for you? All thoughts and comments are welcome.