Last week Henrike, a friend of mine, wrote a blog post that inspired me and I would love to share my thoughts about it. Henrike is a visual storyteller and blogs about her artistic journey by sharing her work on a webcomic she’s creating. In this particular blog post she talks about wanting everything to be ‘ready’ before actually drawing the pages. Even though I’m not a visual storyteller, I recognize myself in Henrike’s story. A lot of times I didn’t pursue something, because I didn’t feel I was prepared enough or I didn’t feel like it was perfect enough. Why? It can be freaking scary to put something out there in the world for everyone to see and preparing something well felt like a safety net. Of course preparation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I’ve realized that too much preparing can hold me back.
I can give you many examples of this, but a recent example is writing. I’ve been blogging for almost two years (in Dutch) and I still have the tendency to feel insecure about the blog posts I write. Why? I compare myself to other bloggers and I feel like I need a writing course to be a good writer/blogger. Because of that I only enjoy blogging when I feel like the piece I wrote is perfect and when I was in ‘inspiration’ mode. This ‘inspiration’ mode looks like this for me: I have an idea for a blog post, I have some ideas how to write it, I connect these ideas to each other, I prepare the blog post in my mind, and I write it very soon after I had the idea. These circumstances are very helpful, because they encourage me to develop an idea into a blog post. At the same time, it holds me back when I turn these circumstances into conditions and because of that I wouldn’t write as much as I do now.
I also have the tendency to compare myself to others. This is something I also tend to do outside of writing. Because of two personal development courses I followed during the summer, I realized that it makes no sense to compare myself. I’m unique and there’s no one like me. Everything I write is an expression of who I am and that in itself is enough. I still struggle with this though, so this is definitely something I want to work on in my personal life. One way to work on this is by journaling. Henrike told me about the app Day One, a journaling app, and I started using this app regularly to write about my daily life. It’s really nice, because I don’t feel any pressure and it feels relieving to write about what I’m going through.
When it comes to writing courses I’ve realized that there are a lot of awesome authors who didn’t have an education in writing, but just started. Elizabeth Gilbert, one of my favorite authors and known from her book Eat, Pray, Love, is an example of that. She recently published her new non-fiction book Big Magic, a book about creativity, and in one of her Magic Lessons podcasts she talked about this. She said that she didn’t have any education in writing, because she couldn’t afford it. So she just started writing. I talked about taking writing courses with Henrike and another friend and they advised me to just start writing. That’s what’s so nice about writing and why I started in the first place: I can always write if I want to.