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Choking and other blogging hazards

Hello again

I’ve been shamefully tardy in posting once more and it’s down to a severe case of choking – also known as writer’s block, stage fright or crippling self-awareness…

You see I started this blog in secret. You’ve probably gathered that I still have little idea of where this is going and I had even less back then.  I wanted to send a few thoughts out into the ether and also get used to writing (ahem) regularly.  So I kept it a secret.  I didn’t tell a single person.

But you know what secrets are like; after a while you are burning to share.  So every now and then I’d find myself oh so casually drop the notion that I was blogging into conversation.  The trouble was that once the questions came, nano seconds later, I’d be so overcome with embarrassment about my lack of content,  even the title of the blog, that I’d clam up like a 13 year-old leaving my audience understandably bewildered. Why have a public blog AND mention it if you didn’t then want people to pay your site a courtesy visit and murmur politely about it next time they spoke to you?

Then I had some IT issues, related to my Firefox browser and WordPress not really getting on.  I decided to ask a colleague at work who has many very fab blogs to check that I wasn’t doing something stupid and see why it was broken…  I HAD to fess up to my blogging identity and sure enough he made a few polite murmurs a few days later and after about three weeks I forgot to go bright red each time we chatted by the water tap (I work at a local authority so the water coolers disappeared in the last round of cost savings).

The problem was the IT issue still lingered – it seemed to be my PC settings as opposed to the actual software so I had to take my laptop to a computer expert – another friend who also blogs.  AGAIN I had to share the details of my blog and again I turned the colour of beetroot and he made a few polite murmurs before turning back to his fab blog and showing me all its wonders.  Oh, and he did fix the problem by downloading Chrome, which seems to work perfectly.

The problem was that he then told his wife, another of my friends, who told another mutual friend and suddenly,  in very small numbers, I become aware that people might actually be reading this stuff.

Then earlier this week I get a series of emails to my hotmail account to say that some lovely people in Germany have taken the time to favourite one of my earlier posts.  I oscillated from extreme Cheshire Cat grinning excitement to bewilderment at how they even found the page.  This was real people, and more importantly people I don’t know, reading what I wrote. As I walked home I mused on home maybe, just maybe, I could do this writing thing for a living.  I never believed that the blog would be part of that but it has helped my confidence immeasurably…

And then I sat down to write – every night this week – and nothing.  I was, as Malcolm Gladwell so beautifully explained in an essay in “What The Dog Saw” (great book – just finished it) choking.  The concept of an audience raised my levels of self-conciousness to paralysing levels.

So why am I so embarrassed by this blog in front of friends?  Why do I care that people have, or might, read it?  I think it’s that I am trying to be honest and that leaves me feeling a little vulnerable.  I’m not good at feeling vulnerable;  I think it’s a relic of a childhood at an all-girls school – you never give anyone any possible ammunition to mock  you and you develop the ability to verbally eviscerate anyone at 20 paces. This is exactly the kind of honest stuff that I would go into default mock mode about whilst secretly envying the writer for having the balls to do it.  So, in deference to my blogging mates, I will strive to be proud of my posts and continue to be open to any mockery, now I’ve finished choking on my humble pie.

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