“You do know,” my husband said slowly, picking his words, “that you have to be careful with this.” Yes, I know.
Today I plucked up some extra courage and sent the link to the first blog ‘The Beginning, Again’ to a number of personal friends and family friends all over the world, inviting them to read and follow if they’d like to. It’s quite daunting, but while I love writing for myself, sharing that writing with others who enjoy it is immensely satisfying. Not everyone will enjoy it of course, not everyone will care. Some people might be plain pissed that I have contacted them about this in the first place. I apologise. People’s lives are busy, and this is my thing, not theirs. They might quite resent the intrusion of my daily ponderings into their lives. I respect that, and everyone is free to do as they like. I’m not holding a gun to anyone’s head after all.
The thing is, as intimidating as it may be, I know that the more people I have reading my work, or even being just aware that I’m trying something, the more I will be motivated to keep going, to stick at it, to develop and refine my writing. I will feel quite silly if I tell a bunch of people I’m doing this and then swiftly drop off the radar, letting my goals fizzle into nothing, again.
“Are you worried about me? Getting hurt?” I ask him.
“Well, yes, a little.” My husband looked quite pained as he tried to navigate this potential minefield. “You know I have always said that your writing is just amazing.” It’s true, he has always been exceptionally encouraging and supportive, unfailingly so. I could see that he wanted to protect me now from disappointment, possibly the most painful emotion to deal with, in my opinion. “You have to expect that there will be some people who don’t give positive feedback.”
Absolutely. I love positive feedback as much as the next person, but constructive criticism is also welcome. It takes time and consideration to give, and conveys the message that you think the recipient is worthy of that effort and investment of your time and thought. I appreciate it wholeheartedly. It is also easier on the ego than flat out vitriol but if I get that, over this kind of writing, surely that would say more about them, than about me. So I assured my darling man that I am of aware of this, and that I know feelings might get hurt from time to time. I can’t appeal to everyone. Not everyone will be interested. But that’s no reason not to do it at all.
It’s a bit like my running. I say ‘running’ but really when I go out ‘running’ it’s more of a shuffle. The athletic type, I am not. I got into ‘running’ a few years back though when I’d graduated from midwifery and was waiting for a start date for my grad year. I had no idea when that would be and was literally just waiting, day after day, for the call that almost never came. If I’d known then that I would be waiting a whole year for The Call I would have written a book in my spare time! But alas, I am not psychic, so I did not write a book.
I ran instead. I had a lot of time on my hands, needed the stress release, couldn’t afford gym or yoga and desperately needed the endorphins that running provided. I worked up from nothing to running 10km in 58 minutes and I absolutely loved it. Those thunder thighs that I’d been taunted over were so strong, so capable, and I was so grateful to them for supporting me. It was, in itself, quite a transformative experience and changed the way I thought about my body. I started to think about what it could do, rather than how it looked. But for many reasons I shan’t go into now, I didn’t sustain it, and now I’m flat out running 1 km in 7 minutes. Yes, that is very slow. But that’s not a reason not to get out and try, as often as I can. And that’s where I’m at with it now.
That’s also how I feel about my writing. With my running- I’m no olympian, I never will be, but I can work on it and be the best I can be with continued, consistent effort- small steps, repeated often. With my writing, it is exactly the same. I’m not trying to break new ground and win a Nobel Peace Prize. There will always be writers way better than me, just as there will always be faster runners. There will always be a smarter, more concise, more pertinent way to express a particular idea, but that won’t stop me trying. When I come home from a ‘run’ these days, I can always look back and berate myself for the 3 kms I didn’t run rather than the 2 that I did, but hell, at least I got out there and worked at it.
That’s what I’m doing here, I reassured my hubby. Nothing crazy, nothing awe-inspiring, nothing scary. I’m just building up my writer’s muscle, and feeling better for it.