Starting at the Beginning

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Old newspaper

Photo "Old Newspaper" by ShironekoEuro, available under a Creative Commons Generic license.

When I started writing my very first WiP back in May 2010, I promised myself I would start a blog after I finished it. Middle of December 2010, I finished it. And since then I’ve been twiddling around trying to start a blog.

While I was writing my WiP, I read a ton of blogs, learned a lot, was sure I had gotten the hang of it. Many times I went to bed with possible blog entries I could write rolling around in my head. But when I finally set my blog up a few days ago, all I could do was keep changing the background, tweaking the colours of the letters. As if that would help me have a good blog. As if getting that shade of green a tad darker would make everybody like me.

I knew that if I could just write those first few entries, I would be fine, but I couldn’t come up with anything. So I didn’t.

Not until I saw this:
http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html on http://skateorbate.blogspot.com/

I clicked on it just to see what it was about, and almost stopped right away when I saw it was twenty minutes long. Twenty minutes? I had so many other things to do. Like finding the perfect background of my blog. But I was hooked after only a few seconds, and ended up watching the whole thing and rewinding over several parts. Brene Brown made a great speech, pausing at the right moments, inserting a joke here and there. And she said cool things like “shame is the fear of disconnection” and “vulnerability, this idea of, in order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen.” And that to deal with the discomfort associated with vulnerability, you have to believe you are worthy of love, belonging, connection.

Her speech touched me. Not in a creepy way, in a good way. Like I’ve rediscovered the world, or somebody had given me a special pair of glasses that made everything clearer. And while she was talking about being worthy, a memory resurfaced in my mind about when I used to take the subway to high school and college. There was a newspaper (I’m pretty sure there still is, I don’t know why I’m talking like it was decades ago, it was only a few year back) called metro, and most people read it since it was free. Having something free definitely shoots its popularity way up, and it doesn’t matter so much if it’s any good or not because, hey, you’re not losing any money on it. And metro was decent, and helped to pass the crowded, sweaty, rush hour subway ride to work, or school, or wherever you were going. But I didn’t pick it up for years.

I’m not sure why I thought I shouldn’t get one for myself. Maybe not to waste it because somebody else might like to have it? I liked to read it. I read it after one of my friends in high school was done reading it, a way of recycling it. But it took me three, if not even four years to get one. One day I walked past the stacks of newspapers that were almost my height and wished I could read the newspaper, but it was too bad that none of my friends were around to get it from them. And then it hit me: I could get one myself. Right now it’s laughable how long it took me to come up with that, but it wasn’t because I didn’t already know that. Technically, I knew I could. I never really felt worthy to get one, I guess. But if anybody else could have one, why couldn’t I? Sure, somebody else might like to have it, but I had as much right to it. And so I backtracked, grabbed one, and walked away with it like it was a thick wad of money, because it wasn’t about the newspaper, it was about the sense that I was worthy, as good as anybody else, and that, even though in only a tiny way, I had owned up to it.

As soon as I remembered this, I knew the problem I was having with my first blog entry was similar. It wasn’t that there was too much pink in my back ground (even though there might be). And it wasn’t that I had to keep changing it till I get the right one (even though I probably will keep changing them, it’s kind of fun). It was because I couldn’t own it, be who I am, believe I was as good as anybody else who blogged, and had just as much right to be liked.

But the funny thing is, as soon as I pinpointed my fear, it shrank and was almost gone. I say almost because it’s still there, but as long as I know what it is, I can keep my eye on it and keep going. It doesn’t paralyze me anymore. And so here I am. Starting a blog. Starting at the beginning.

How about you? Were you nervous about writing your first blog entry? Did it take you a lot of time or did you just dive right in?

15 comments:

Abby Annis said...

Awesome first post, Plamena!

Yes, I was scared to write my first post and it was just a sad, piddly little thing. Back then my focus was on scrapbooking, though, not writing. And I still get scared that my blog isn't good enough, like, all the time. I think that's just part of being a writer. :)

T C Mckee said...

Hey and welcome to the blogoshpere. I was incredibly nervous when I started blogging back in October. But I must say that it just sort of moves along if you work at it. It is work. I find that finding the time to visit all your new found friends is probably the hardest part. But you can do it. Loved the post!

Plamena Schmidt said...

@Thanks Abby!!! I was so happy when I saw your comment. The first comment to my very first blog post! Thank you soo much for the mention on your blog. I saw some new followers and for a second wondered how they knew about me, but then I realized it must be from you. Oh, and I wanted to mention I like your blog, and I'm really glad you're posting more frequently now : )

Plamena Schmidt said...

Thanks so much for the welcome! Putting yourself out there for the first time really can be nerve-wracking. But the writing community seems really friendly and I'm glad to be joining in : )

Jade said...

That was a fantastic first post!! I think my first one had something about being in the fetal position in my local borders. Or maybe that came later?

I'm constantly wonder why I bother to blog since I'm sure I don't have anything relevant/interesting to say. Or that other people could say it better. I mainly just push on because I enjoy it.

I'm looking forward to more fabulous posts!!

Plamena Schmidt said...

@Jade Thanks, Jade! I think blogging will help me sort things out in my mind, and if it helps you too, then that's reason enough to do it : )

Jamie Grey said...

What a great first post! I still struggle with this after over a year with my blog! But I've found that if I write about stuff that interests me and that I'm passionate about, the "right people" will find it and be interested to. I still think most of it's probably drivel and I should just stop, but I enjoy it too much :)

And you *are* worthy of being here (this post totally rocks) - I'm so glad you decided to add your voice to the writing world! Welcome :)

Christine Danek said...

Welcome! I was quite nervous, and I'm scared to go back and read my first post. You, my dear, have written a wonderful first post. I'm looking forward to more.
Have a great weekend!

Eric said...

Welcome and nice post. I honestly don't remember what my first post was like (I should probably go back and re-read it), but knowing me, I probably just plunged in and started chattering away - regardless of whether I was actually saying anything worthwhile. I have since (thankfully) improved what I post though.

Susan R. Mills said...

Great first post! Unlike you, I didn't start commenting on blogs until I had mine all set up and running. My first few posts were read by me and only me, so that took the pressure off. I'm so glad you got over your fear and here blogging now!

DL Hammons said...

I was too ignorant to be nervous about my first post. Besides, I was certain that the only people who would read it were my family and close friends. It wasn't until I built up a sizable following that I truly began to consider the ramifications of my words.

This was an excellent first post. Trust your instincts, and you'll do great! :)

Nicole Mc said...

What an awesome post. I'm so glad you found me, and now me you. I'm dying to watch your TED video but I'm in my room and my husband is asleep...it will be wonderful with my morning coffemate! Cant wait to follow you on your journey!

Plamena Schmidt said...

@Jamie Grey Thank you : ) You’re so right, it is all about writing about stuff that interest you and you are passionate about—both with blogging and with writing novels. Especially with novels. If you don’t care about it, why would anybody else? I don’t know how anybody would be able to work on a novel for long enough to write it, revise it, and do whatever it takes to publish it if they aren’t really passionate about it.

@Christine Danek Thank you so much for the welcome : ) I'm looking forward to writing more posts. The writing community seems so friendly, that it's like I was afraid for no reason.

@ Eric Thank you! I almost wished I could have plunged right in like you, but even though it did take me some time I’m here now so it’s all good.

@ Susan R. Mills I'm glad you like it! I'm glad to be here! I've been reading blogs for about eight months now, and mostly lurking, so I didn't think many people, if any, would read my first posts, but it's public so you never know.

@ DL Hammons Thanks! After reading blogs for about eight months, I couldn't help but be nervous. Sure, nobody might read your blog at first, but it's always out there, you know? I agree on trusting your instincts--I'm always thinking of pros and cons, but in the end go with my gut feeling.

@Nicole Mc Thanks : ) I'm glad I found you, too! I read your comment on Kiersten White's blog, and you mentioned you just started a blog so I had to check it out. And when I saw you posted a TED video in one of your first entries, I thought it must be a good sign : P

Cold As Heaven said...

Good start. You got lots of followers and commenters already. >:)

No, I wasn't nervous writing my first post, and it didn't take long. It was only four lines. It looked pretty lame when I looked back on it one year after ... I still write lame posts from time to time >:D

Cold As Heaven

Plamena Schmidt said...

@ Cold As Heaven Thanks : )