I went to First Friday in Annapolis yesterday. I thought it was to be part of a lindy bomb, but I got there at 3:30 only to discover that the band left at 3:00. Bummer! Now what? I perused some of the craft and vendor tables, knowing that I didn’t want to spend money, all I wanted was a good swing out. And then…it happened. I passed a booth filled with books and promptly got lost in conversation with the two women running it. Anyone surprised? No? Yeah, me either.
One of the many things we talked about was joy discovering new writers. The publisher running the table said, “A lot of times, an author’s first book is their best book.” I quickly chimed in and said, “That’s probably because they don’t know any better.” To which she replied, “Exactly.”
It got me thinking. When I first started this blog just over a year ago, I didn’t know any better. Then the comments started coming, and I started realizing just how far and wide my ramblings were making ripples. And then all of a sudden, when I didn’t get feedback on a post, I started getting worried. Was it lame? Was it off base? Did no one care? Oh no! I haven’t made people happy!
I started feeling all this pressure to be inspiring, to be wise and insightful, to be humorous and intriguing… and I promptly gave myself blogger’s-block. (Is that even a real term? It is now.)
It doesn’t help that I’ve started grad school and feel genuine pressure to perform on the discussion boards and in my papers. Some of my fellow students have impressive careers and even more impressive vocabularies. Every time I post, I have to muster up a bunch of courage and remind myself that even though I may not be in the same place they are, I still have something to say, and it has value. I digress…
Lately I’ve had the most brilliant thoughts when I’m away from my computer. They would make great posts. But when I get to the keyboard, everything goes blank. Instead of the steady stream of inspiration running through my mind, all I can hear is crickets. Maybe a dog howling in the background. And the occasional shutter banging. But the eloquence hides somewhere else.
It’s been pretty frustrating. But after a few conversations (the one on Sunday was the straw on the camel’s back), something clicked into place.
Let’s see if I can communicate this correctly. I play on a praise team. I don’t have notes, I just ad lib and worship through my violin. There are services when the notes just click together and everything is beautiful. And there are services when a bizarre thing happens. I play into the microphone, and everything is a mess. So I step back to reset and truly just play in the background, and then the most beautiful melodies and harmonies soar from my strings. So I think, “Great! I’ll just step back up to the mic now.” And it all falls apart again. It’s like God is up there saying, “Nuh uh. Tonight’s just you and me kid.” Which, is uber frustrating…until I realize that playing for an audience of One is my entire purpose for playing. It doesn’t matter if I’m heard or not. I’m there to give an offering, to set an atmosphere, and to stand in the gap for those who may not be able to pray or praise on their own (because they don’t have the words, or the burdens they carry are too big for their shoulders alone). My playing is a love song, an embrace, a dance, a conversation.
Maybe, my Heavenly Father is reminding me that for as much as he wants to use whatever talent and insight I have for his glory…he wants to keep me to himself every once in a while too.
And perhaps it’s the same way with this new blogging talent/adventure of mine. Maybe sometimes our dialogue is just for us. Not that I can’t share it again later. But for that time and moment, we need to have an inside joke, or quiet talk. Does that make sense?
I need to recapture the freedom of not knowing any better. I need to remember that it doesn’t matter if I feel particularly brilliant or out-of-the-box, nor does it matter if there are 20 comments or none. It doesn't even matter if I post twice a week, or twice a month. Like my header says: I'm just trying to live every day... to make good memories, share the hope I've found, and love people without getting tired. The only pressure I should feel is the pressure to write from my heart. I have a feeling that when I do that, I won’t have to worry about all the other stuff …it’ll just happen.
If I haven’t lost your attention yet (pretty long post for someone with blogger’s-block huh?), let me pose a question to you: What are the blogs and violins in your life? Do you have a talent that you enjoy? (It doesn’t matter if it’s seen or not. Talents come in all shapes and sizes.) Take a minute to remember why you love it, and why you do it. Recapture the joy of not knowing any better.