When did it happen? I’m not so sure. At some point, I started caring about what I wrote on my blog. I started thinking about what others would think. I used to just write what I felt like writing. I didn’t have this sense that I had an “audience”. Sixteen years ago, pretty much nobody I knew was online. I knew online people, of course. But they were online people. My tribe.
I realised that after following an online course called Writing Your Grief. It was just after Tounsi’s death, but I’d already signed up — it was coincidental. For the first time in a long time I was writing things that weren’t meant to be published, but that weren’t journaling either. It was an extraordinary experience: not just as related to my grief, but for the writing. We had a private Facebook group in which we could share our writing and read each other’s pieces. A room full of compassionate strangers. I hadn’t written like that in years. More than a decade, maybe. And I loved what I wrote. You know, when words seem to write themselves, and your writing actually tells you something?
Morning Pages do that, but they are less structured. More stream-of-consciousness. I haven’t been able to pick up Morning Pages again since Tounsi died. Maybe I will someday. Right now I feel like I’m holding on by the skin of my teeth, so I don’t have the courage to dive back in.
While I was mulling over this new/old writing I’ve connected with (again?), Adam shared a link to this piece about blogging. Which I read.
You know it’s a recurring theme here on Climb to the Stars. I miss the Golden Age of Blogging. And when I was reading the piece linked above, about how blogging went from carefree online writing to being all about influencers, my feelings finally collided into a thought: yes, that was it. I missed writing without caring too much about what people would think. About being judged. About having to be “good” because my job depends on it now. Similarly, I noted the other day on Facebook that I wasn’t online to sell or market stuff, I was online because I liked it here. Because I enjoy it.
Catch-22, right? Because I enjoy it, I made it my job, and now it matters. I’m not a nobody anymore. I have clients. Colleagues in the industry. And I care what they think. And so I write less. I’m careful. I self-censor — more. I enjoy it less.
And now I’ve found a different pleasure in writing. Writing things I’m scared to show people, because I hope they’re good, but fear they’re banal. Expectations. Ah, expectations.
I guess I’ll just keep writing.
Originally published at Climb to the Stars.