Someone I trusted many years ago gave me some advice recently on my writing. The advice was short and to the point: stop writing my blog.
He argued that I was sharing too much information and inferred that I was making a fool of myself. He expressed concerns too about WordPress, the extremely popular content management system that I use to run my site.
In the end, he called it, “my silly blog.”
A challenging exercise
I’ve been writing this blog for close to four years and I’ve had my ups-and-downs. I’ve given it up countless times — thanks to the time and writing demands — only to come back with renewed energy and fight. I’ve had some pieces that have come together nicely like a colorful jigsaw puzzle and have gone over well with readers and then I’ve had my share of boring ones that drone-on forever and seem to have a never-ending assembly line of grammar and punctuation errors.
A writer needs feedback the way crops need the rain or students need a teacher, so I thought about what my once trusted advisor had said. My friend used to know me, he used to be a strong support.
Grateful all the same
However, the more I thought about the criticism, the more convinced I became that my friend was wrong. For him to suggest his advice, he never really got what makes me tick. You would need to cut out my heart to get me to stop now. I am a writer. Yes, I probably do share too much. Yes, it’s probably too long, and, yes, the blog has some warts, but its benefits far outweigh its warts.
Despite the ill-informed advice, I’ll give my critic one bit of credit. Long before anyone else, he believed in my writing. When I was just a kid struggling to believe in anything, he was one of my first supporters. He helped me to see that I had something to say and that it was important. He helped me to see that I mattered. I’m not sure whatever happened to that person, but I’m grateful nonetheless.
Full of words
As for me, I’m good. For the record, this is the furtherest thing from self pity. My writing is who I am. My critic missed that point. I most certainly have not. I get the importance that writing plays in my life. I write to understand the world and myself. I could certainly stop sharing my talent, my gift. I could close it off to the world, but the blog, as hokey and homespun as it may be, is the best way I know to share my work. If you take that part of my personality away from me, you may as well take away my heart.
Life keeps moving on
Life is funny. The same week my critic called my blog silly, I got a note from a stranger thanking me for sharing my own challenges and accomplishments and for putting to words a challenge they’re working to overcome. Oh, life is most definitely funny.
So yes, if my critic and others have a problem with my blog, then they can go elsewhere. They don’t need to keep reading. I’m not forcing them to stay. Me? I’m going to keep on writing. I’ve found a home, I’ve found a release, and I’m going to keep on working on “my silly blog.”