My fears were multiple: What if I can’t figure out the technology? What if I ran out of ideas? What if people hate what I write? The fear of exposure was perhaps the strongest one. For years, I hid away my real thoughts, sometimes even from myself. Being authentic openly felt vulnerable and risky. But if I couldn’t put out a short piece about my life as it is now what hope was there to ever publish my book, which is way more exposing?
So, at last, I published my first blog post on 23 October 2014. It was about meeting my dad’s side of my family for the first time when I was… 36 years old. Given my insecurities, I wrote another ten blog posts in case my blogging ideas run out. I used one of those. The rest are still sitting on my computer.
At first, I had two followers: my husband and my writing buddy. Little by little, I started to get word out about the blog, sharing it with my Reiki, Tai-chi, Five Rhythms and Journey communities. It was edgy, but not too scary as I’d known many of the readers for years. Then, gradually, the numbers grew. I linked with other writers from my Writer Development Programme and beyond.
For the first few months, I was obsessed with the stats. If there were a large number of views, I felt surprised. Really? How did someone in Japan find out about my writing? If there were few readers, I felt upset. Checking on stats both fed my ego and drained my energy. Paradoxically, by keeping an eye on the numbers, I created an energetic block. With time, I let it go, and the numbers are doing their own thing. I’m more interested in connecting and communicating with my readers, rather than how many hits my blog has, even though 6,432 hits and 1590 followers in a year feel rather pleasing.
The first five months of my blogging adventure were filled with absolute terror. Every time I published a post, I despaired that there would never be anything else I could write about. The terror of feeling blank bugged me for several days a week until the next idea came about and the cycle repeated itself. Some of my writing came from a self-enquiry class I took with memoirist Mark Matousek. It wasn’t quite blog material, but those were posts nonetheless. I lacked focus, and wasn’t clear on my overall message. I did my best though and kept going.
My message, values and aspirations became much clearer in late March.
I gave birth to my baby girl, and I had the courage to speak up in response to things I was unhappy about my treatment at the maternity hospital.
Then I joined the April Blogging Challenge from A to Z and chose ‘authenticity’ as my theme for that month. Even though the terror pursued me for 26 days, I soon realised that there was always something to write about. It didn’t have to be dramatic or big. I could learn from mundane things. Blogging helped me to pay closer attention to my day-to-day life, and to be more awake to the beauty of the ordinary.
Birthing my baby girl and surviving the April Blogging Challenge helped me to crystalise the big why behind my blogging:
– speaking up,
– inspiring others to find their voice, and
– being authentic.
And so to celebrate, I’m launching a new series called The Story Behind The Story. The idea is to learn about other women’s why behind their writing journey or a particular piece of writing they’d like to share. The first post will be published next week. My prayer is that those posts inspire you to dig deeper, shine your light, and make your innermost desires more conscious.