Why I Refuse to Treat Blogging Like It's My Job: It Takes Time to Make Meaning
Recently my loving friend encouraged me to treat blogging like it's my job. By this, she meant to treat it earnestly and show up consistently and work on it every day.
This is really good advice, y’all. These are really good traits to have, especially if you're trying to build up a blog following. But for some reason that advice really didn't sit well with me. In fact, I stopped working on my blog immediately after that.
I noted my apparent rebellion and half-heartedly scolded myself. But I know from experience that shame does nothing to help unblock me. I needed to sit with this new stimulus until I figured out what was going on with my reaction.
The thing is, I know how to be responsible, earnest, consistent, and show up every day to a job. At times in my life, I have defined myself entirely by these traits. It slowly began to dawn on me that these are not the lessons I need to learn with this blog. In fact, I am trying to unlearn some things.
I’m trying to unlearn the habits of hustling and proving myself, of fearing someone’s view of me as irresponsible or flighty. I am trying to unlearn the mentality that my efforts only matter if they can be quantified and monetized. I am trying to unlearn the overachieving impulse to do more, better, more efficiently.
Instead, I'm trying to learn a trait I used to view as old-fashioned and boring: patience.
Patience for ideas to incubate and slowly come to form. Patience through the process of articulating those ideas beautifully.
I don’t want another job; I want an outlet. I want to strengthen my voice and see how flexible and creative it can be, how brave I can be in using it.
I want to hone my words not with an editor’s knife, but by gently polishing them with a soft, loving gaze until I can see the light coming through the gem.
I want my thoughts to be transformed from reactionary snippets to deep meaning by having enough quiet processing time in my body, in my soul, before I share them. I feel protective of this alchemy that daily blogging and 24-hour news and tweeting just don't allow for.
I want to treat myself as a precious, magical soul homed in a beautiful, vulnerable body.
I want to remember that I am a human being rather than a human doing. I am developing faith that I'm still valuable even when I'm not “productive.”
In short, I'm trying to live in a way that makes me feel actually alive. It takes slowing down and breathing through the anxiety of slowing down until I can really see what's inside of me.
I’m immensely grateful for my friend’s advice. It brought to consciousness my soul’s desire to quit being sold and instead be allowed to speak in its own way, in its own time. Unlike my mind, my soul is not seduced by the allure of accomplishment. It is not addicted to approval. It wants only to be true and free.
Hey, Soul--don’t worry. I can do that.
Image: Cave Without a Name, Boerne, Texas. The stalactites, stalagmites, soda straws, cave drapery, flowstones, and rimstone dams took thousands of years to form in total darkness. This abundance of beauty--formed so slowly, unseen, not needing anyone's observation or appreciation--awes and humbles me.