This Ain't No Lunch Counter: How to Cure Blogular Impotence And Remember Why You're Here
Writer's block, writer's block, writer's block.
Here's a freaky picture of me working my french press:
taken with the iPhone 4 Hipstamatic app using the Salvador 84 lens, DreamCanvas film, and no flash
Actually, I'm not much of a believer in writer's block. People claim it, I claim it when it's convenient, but I don't believe in it. Maybe you can't find the words for what you want to write, or maybe you can't even find subject matter to write about, but the fact remains that you have words, and they can be written down. If you're having thoughts right now, they probably have words attached to them. Write them down.
So, that's what I'm torturing you with right now. And me.
I came away from BlissDom Canada with a spanky new mantra — SUCK LESS and BE MORE AWESOME — and then I found out that my Grace in Small Things social network was featured in Woman's Day magazine, and then I scored a couple of new writing gigs, and then I received a wedding photography inquiry, and then, and then, and then. I am not quite sure what happened, but I quickly folded in on myself, completely afraid of doing anything for fear of sucking more and being less awesome.
Right when I am receiving encouragement from the world to continue writing words and taking photos and to champion good blogging, I started questioning what I have to offer.
Oh, now I see what's happening here. I'm having a regular old case of performance anxiety. I am suffering from Blogular Impotence. After seven years blogging, it has become an old friend of mine.
Blogular Impotence is a common malady among bloggers, but it isn't one from which we have to suffer, because it is primarily caused by a problematic thought process, which is easily corrected.
Problematic viewpoint: I am performing for a specific audience and must create with the purpose of entertaining them.
The problematic viewpoint turns your weblog into an on-demand lunch counter that turns your readers into customers whom you are worried about serving grilled cheese sandwiches to because they might be thinking about beef bourguignon. Social anxiety ends up divorcing you from the creative force behind your work.
Appropriate viewpoint: I share what I love to create with those who choose to share it with me.
The more appropriate viewpoint is that you are a creator of cultural goods which you gladly share with people who want your brand of cultural goods. In this case, you are making stuff for yourself and your appreciative peers. Your readers become friends who stand alongside you in your creative process.
I head into this spiral of second-guessing my creative pursuits a couple of times a year whenever I feel major shifts taking place in my life, which shifts can range from a change in seasons to following new creative pursuits. As social animals, it is natural to worry how changes in our lives and, by extension, our creativity will be perceived by others, and so it is easy to lose focus on the real meat of the matter, which is this:
We create. I create. This is where the heart of it is.
I can panic about who is looking and why they are looking and what they think of what they are looking at, but the fact is that I just love making stuff, be it out of words or images or bits of code, and it is the love that I pour into the things I create that allows me to move through this life with joy and direction.
This ain't no lunch counter. You are not customers, and I am no short order cook.
I share what I love to create with those who choose to share it with me. This is where the heart of it is.
PS. This entry is a lesson learned: when this so-called writer's block strikes, start writing. I had no idea that I would sort out my head like this when I pasted in a picture of my french press up there.
PPS. I started an iPhoneography weblog to celebrate my replacement of my stolen iPhone 3G with an iPhone 4. I'm in deep like with my tech these days.