A couple weeks ago, Shelton and I were coming home with a hot dinner in tow when I saw this. This is the entrance to our apartment complex, and for a while now I’ve been waiting for the water to be still and glass-like like this so that I could take a picture of the trees perfectly reflected. Sometimes you wait and wait and then when you least expect it, things just happen. When they finally do, you let your dinner get cold so that you can experience them wholeheartedly. I’m sure that’s a rule somewhere.
I’m doing a lot of re-thinking and reflecting in my life lately. Reassessing my priorities – asking myself questions like, “What is the most important thing to me right now?” and “Am I spending my time as I should be?” and “What makes me feel fulfilled?” and then most importantly… “Am I doing the things that make me feel fulfilled often enough?”
In case you were wondering, the answer to that question is “No.”
When I started blogging in 2009 (I can’t believe it’s been almost four years), I did so because I needed a creative outlet and I craved attention. Only one of those is a good reason to start an endeavor like blogging, but hey. At the time both my professional and personal lives were extremely stressful and taxing, and I saw blogging as an escape. It was also around this season of my life that I drank just about every day and on the weekends I would listen to music and write aimlessly until 4 am. I would do things like this instead of working through my problems. I numbed my feelings like you wouldn’t believe.
A lot has changed since then. Like, I don’t even live on the same planet anymore. Which is very ironic, because my old blog was named Sarah Planet.
Why do I blog now? If you’re a blogger reading this, or a hobbyist of any kind – I encourage you to ask yourself the same question. Why are you doing what you do? Has your motivation evolved or changed since you began?
Mine has. Every time I receive a comment, my heart flutters. I get the same feeling when I get a new “like” on Facebook. But blogging is not an escape from my life anymore – it’s a way that I celebrate my life. All that being said, I continue to put way too much pressure on myself lately when it comes to blogging. I am incredibly driven by my firstborn mentality, most of the time to a fault. My inner critic is just so mean. I spoke about my tendency to self-shame in this post about fitness, and guess what? My inner-critic uses the exact same tactics to make me feel like shit about blogging and my creativity.
“Sure, that’s a good post, but no one will read it.”
“You are doing this all for nothing.”
So mean, right? These thoughts make me not want to post, cause me to think more about other blogger’s styles than my own, and leave me feeling uninspired and numb. The truth is that I love my voice/writing style now more than ever because it is more open and honest. I think the projects I have posted recently are very inspired, and I’m proud of them. When I publish a heartfelt post, I feel like I am aligned with the Universe. And those are all good feelings.
But then comes the hustle of promoting my posts on Facebook, pinning my own images, tweeting, etc. and the good feelings dissipate because newsflash: the blogging community is huge and I’m not the only one pushing my content. There is so much focus on self-promotion within the community that it’s become more important to me to receive feedback/praise on my posts than the actual act of posting.
That’s sad. But, makes sense once the pieces are put together.
So, I have decided a few things based upon these realizations. I am going to create more and hustle less. If I am hustling more than I am creating, something is wrong and I should stop immediately and give myself a break. I am going to show up and be present in my own life, and always be proud of my successes both on and off the blog. I will do all of these things even if no one is watching, it seems like no one cares, or no one gives me praise.
I will create from a raw, honest place. Not a place that is driven by recognition. When I create good, honest, heartfelt content that I am sure will resonate with someone else, I will lightly promote it. And then I will post again when I am inspired, and so on and so forth. My hope is that this will be a healthy cycle of creation, not one where I constantly feel like I’m not good enough. Because that is simply not true.
I am good enough. My content is, too. And if this ever feels like work, I’m gonna back off. I’m gonna re-read this post. I am going to remind myself of all the things I’m doing well in my life outside the blog (work, relationships, personal development, etc.). I’m gonna keep being raw and keep being me.
I love the person I’m growing to be. It’s shit-hard sometimes, but crazy worth it. Wouldn’t change a thing.