I’ve been in a creative rut: I’ve been drowning in a well of uncertainty surrounding this website.
My posts have been infrequent the last two months, and I’ve never felt more disconnected from my writing than I have during this period.
The question I’ve been asking myself (and the question responsible for all my unpublished drafts): how do I maintain the line between authenticity and maintaining my privacy?
I feel like I can clearly delineate between my better writing samples and my terrible ones. My intention here is not to self-deprecate, but rather, illuminate flaws within my current writing style. For example, one of my least favorite blog posts is my Iceland piece. One of the core problems I had with that piece is it lacked authenticity – it was a summary of experiences, but I didn’t feel a personal connection to it. A stranger might as well have written it.
My friends and family know this: I’m actually an extremely private person. I’m terrible at sharing how I feel, and I need them to poke and prod until I eventually give in and open up. So, I started this blog with the intention to take ownership in my writing – to privatize, edit, and control my thoughts into something legible. It was not only a creative challenge, but an opportunity for self-growth: to learn to be more transparent and accountable.
I recently had a coffee date with my creative muse (fun fact: the same muse that encouraged me to start this blog in the first place), and I came to the realization I had set an unrealistic standard in my own writing: I needed every post to be profound and every experience to be a learning one. I wanted every travel piece to be something “authentic” – I wanted to avoid writing generic travel guides because I wanted to be able to differentiate my experiences.
I’m in the middle of reading the book How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. One of the main premises of the book is that people want to sustain the feeling of importance. I was unintentionally feeling that way in my writing: my drafts made me feel insignificant. I recently attempted to write a Father’s Day post, and there was no cohesion. In frustration, I wrote, deleted, rewrote, and deleted again all the drafts on my laptop. Somewhere along the line, I stopped writing for myself, and I was attempting to appease a fictional internet audience.
The reality is (especially when I travel) sometimes experiences are just that: experiences. Not every experience is out of the ordinary or interesting. There was so much self-inflicted pressure to consistently publish good content, but I can’t force myself to grow at the rate or level I want to. It’s a natural process that most rarely have control over. I think attempting to control that process is what caused me to burn out so quickly. I had to come to terms with the reality that growth is rarely linear, it’s a process of recurring highs and lows. And sometimes, we need to relearn the same lesson over and over again until it sticks. There are certain experiences I’m going to continue to monopolize; they’re memories I don’t want to share and write about.
My friend pointed out the best thing I could do for myself is to keep myself accountable and keep writing. Terrible or not, forgive myself and continue publishing.
Brace yourself for more blog posts. I’m back (bad posts and all).