As I was trawling through my neglected drafts folder a particular entry stood out to me. Written February 6, 2018 it’s titled Merging Trend: Slow Down and Get Real. This piece in particular stood out to me for several reasons.
One of them being just how perfectly it encapsulates both the misunderstandings and self-imposed limitations I have been wrestling with for all too long. Misunderstandings and imitations that are tied to practically every single “AHA!” I’ve had over the past few months.
The piece starts with a list of people whom I had noticed were beginning to speak openly about being exhausted, uninspired, and deeply unhappy. They were each declaring energetic bankruptcy and trading in their curated content calendars for the “old way of doing things” — creating simply because they wanted to.
How inspiring! My intention for this list of names was for it to serve as a reminder of the type of content I want to create. That it IS possible. Or perhaps more accurately to remind myself that it is allowed.
But that’s exactly where I was going wrong: I was seeking permission.
You see, I had two ideas at war in my head:
- Like the individuals on my list, I should embrace connection, authenticity, and creativity as a part of the writing process
- While on the other hand, in order to prove I was worthy I needed to do this the “right” way — the right way being highly-curated, on-brand content.
Uhhhh… wait, what?
In my mind I wasn’t simply writing; I was capital B Blogging. And so I was following that sleek, optimized process designed for consistent, speedy output. The one you learn in webinars boasting they’ll show you how to write a month’s worth of blog posts in a single weekend or create a year’s worth of writing topics in 30 minutes.
The result? A robotic assembly line piecing together the same reductive sales-oriented internet garbage thousands of other creators are producing to “hack” the algorithm and “unlock” 6k months. The digitization of the paper pusher — now in 2D!
In my attempt to Blog while also flexing my creativity and self-expression I spiraled out…
“The need to blog is bogging me down. It’s stifling. If I were to just write it could flow so much easier — effortlessly.
Or maybe… I don’t even like writing and I don’t even know it.
Do I even like writing? I never write for myself…“
And that’s the thing. I LOVED writing. All of my client work at the time involved ghostwriting for agencies. It was fun and interesting and challenging. I just struggled when it came to writing Blog posts.
As Joel Hooks says in his post Stop Giving af and Start Writing More:
“It’s not a fucking blog. Seriously. The idea of a “blog” needs to get over itself. Everybody is treating writing as a “content marketing strategy” and using it to “build a personal brand” which leads to the fundamental flawed idea that everything you post has to be polished to perfection and ready to be consumed.”
He goes on to say…
“Instead my approach now is to publish my thoughts more freely with less premeditation. Particularly in this space, which is mine, for me, by me.”
And THAT’S precisely what I need. A space that is mine, for me, by me. Because for YEARS I felt guilty for wanting to write and share the things I wanted to write and share. I’ve been seeking outside permission to write the things I wanted to write because my own damn website never felt like it was for me. It was for my audience.
To paint a picture of how absolutely ludicrous that notion is, let me paint a picture for you. For at least the past two years, on average my site sees between 15-30 visitors a MONTH. Realistically, half of which is probably from ME and the rest primarily spam bots.
The actual real human beings that do occasionally visit my site are either my friends or potential clients sleuthing out my online presence. Both are groups I would gladly share my various thoughts and obsessions with — and honestly I already do through email and direct messages. And those are precisely the people I care about regularly sharing with.
So not only am I holding back from an audience I don’t even have it’s one I don’t even want. Cool.
And that, dear reader, is why I am turning my Blog into a digital garden. It’s also why my first addition isn’t even about digital gardens. ✌️