“We all start out knowing magic. We are born with whirlwinds, forest fires, and comets inside us. We are born able to sing to birds and read the clouds and see our destiny in grains of sand. But then we get the magic educated right out of our souls. We get it churched out, spanked out, washed out, and combed out. We get put on the straight and narrow path and told to be responsible. Told to act our age. Told to grow up, for God’s sake. And you know why we were told that? Because the people doing the telling were afraid of our wildness and youth, and because the magic we knew made them ashamed and sad of what they’d allowed to wither in themselves.” ~ Robert R. McCammon
Recently, I learned that I’ve been blogging for 5 Years. Back then, I read many excellent blogs, and I wanted my own. And so, I began with no idea about what I was doing, or getting myself into. (Sometimes, I still feel that way.) I created my blog to express my thoughts and feelings about the state of my life. I was on a journey of inner exploration. I longed to reveal the self, which lay beneath the vagaries of life that resulted in tarnishing the unvarnished, unburdened, bundle of love that entered the world. I mean, before I was taught to embrace identities, ideals, expectations, thoughts, feelings and desires that are not my own. In addition, I loved to write and wanted the blog to improve those skills.
At the beginning, I had no readers–none. It bothered me, so I solicited my family and friends to follow me. It was that pesky ego whispering in my ear. In hindsight, my goal was for people to like me; however, the statistics mocked me because there it was, in black and white, I wasn’t succeeding.
Reading some of my old posts, I realize that my focus was on the statistics, instead of “the writing.” It is evident that honing my writing ability was not of paramount importance. It is not that, in and of themselves, they were bad; it is just that I failed to read, reread and reread again, to find errors, including unnecessary words, and “huh” language (You know, when you think, “What the hell does that mean?”). I want it clear, I am not saying that my current posts are error-free, but that is my goal.
As I continued to read, it became clear that I struggled to find my voice. One after another, each post felt inauthentic, and failed to convey “me.” I was trying too hard, because I was afraid of being seen, afraid for anyone to know the real Lydia. In truth, I guess that I, too, was afraid to uncover and face the real me. I am no longer afraid, at least, most of the time.
Now, this blog is so much more. Seeking Querencia is an extension of who I am. It speaks to the real me. The one that longs to connect with like-minded people, in a straight-forward and honest way. While doing so, I’ve managed to unearth parts of myself that were foreign to me, and they in turn take me closer to my goal. This blog is an integral part of a life-time journey forward and inward.
I am grateful for this blog, as it was, and still is, a repository of my thoughts, feelings, observations, meanderings, and interests. It serves as a record of where I’ve been, and where I am going. It documents my areas of growth and those areas that still need tending. All in all, I am blessed that it exists and that you choose to join me, if only for a while, as I continue “seeking querencia.”
Over the years, I’ve learned, and continue to do so, many things about both my inner and outer world. I’ve managed to whittle the list down to these 20 insights:
- Blog for yourself and not for others.
- Respect the privacy of your family, friends and others by asking their permission before naming names in your blog.
- Everyone will not like you, so do not expect them to.
- Speak your truth.
- Unless you have a valid reason for doing so, check your stats no more than once or twice a month.
- If you are comfortable doing so, invite your readers to get to know the real you, warts and all. (I am not saying that you need to share your deepest, darkest secrets; just give your readers enough to leave them wanting to know more about you and to read more of your posts.)
- Respond to and thank anyone who takes a moment out of their busy lives to comment on your posts. (This does not apply to haters or trolls.)
- Before you press the “publish” button: Spell check, spell check, spell check.
- Before you press the “publish” button: Read, reread and reread again.
- Show gratitude for the readers who support you.
- Create a blog that you love and is an extension of you. (At one point, I was totally disinterested in my blog. When I looked at it objectively, I realized that I hated everything about it. It was money well spent when I hired a web designer who produced this blog that more accurately portrayed me, and that I love. Believe me, it was not expensive.)
- Treat your blog as an opportunity to tell your story.
- Each blog is as unique, as the person behind it.
- Vulnerability takes courage.
- Have the courage to take a position contrary to that of the masses.
- When blogging becomes a chore, take a blogcation.
- When you learn that you gave inaccurate information, admit and correct it, at the earliest opportunity.
- Your voice is no less important than anyone else.
- Let the name of your blog convey its purpose.
- Use your blog to learn, explore and grow.
Afternoon On A Hill
I will be the gladdest thing
Under the sun!
I will touch a hundred flowers
And not pick one.
I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.
And when lights begin to show
Up from the town,
I will mark which must be mine,
And then start down! ~ Edna St. Vincent Millay