a question of confidence

*hint: if you follow this blog, be sure to check out the P.S. at the bottom, even if you don’t read anything else!*

Usually when I write a post here, I just sort of ramble along. I’ll have an idea of what I want to say – roughly – and then it develops while I write and very often ends up something totally different from what I thought it would be, but hey! that’s a good thing! I don’t do much editing and polishing on my posts, except for spelling mistakes and sometimes I’ll exchange a word when I notice that I overuse it. Once written, I hit ‘publish’ and voilà. Why, then, does it take me FOREVER to write a post on my music blog, Cresting the Sounds?

Case in point: the post on Dylan that I just published took me over three weeks to write. I knew what I wanted to do (= a review of his first album), I started listening to the music a lot and made notes on it all the while – and then it still took me almost a month to write it. Part of that, I guess, is that I feel so much more under pressure to write the ‘correct’ thing. I don’t know by heart who wrote which song, so I had to do research (only a little, but still). Also, and more importantly, there are thousands of Dylan fans out there and probably every one believes themselves an expert on his work. So how to write something that was honest, and yet did not turn out totally embarrassing, because, for example, I expressed my admiration for a song that everybody else, all the ‘experts’ thought horrible and immature?

Tough. I had to remind myself all the time that I was really only expressing my own, personal, private opinion – that I wasn’t writing a book based on facts – that all I had to do was be honest and say what I think about each song – that there is no ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in tastes, especially in music taste. If someone else disagrees – well, too bad. It happens. So what.

*sigh*

It’s not that easy. It’s a question of confidence. I’m quite confident on my opinion, but not so very much on my ability to adequately express it. And although I said  that here, where I’m surfing words instead of music, I write without notes and without drafting and without overly polishing, I don’t write so very often, because here the hurdle is: do I have something to say? And often my answer is: not really. And even more often: yeah, maybe, but who’d want to read it anyway?

Recently I’ve gained a lot of followers. A lot for me. I haven’t addressed this at all, so far. I see other blogs, where the authors thank their readers and express gratitude. I can’t bring myself to do that, because I’m so much more astonished than anything else. Even scared sometimes (‘The responsiblity!’ *wild-clutching-of-head). Even paranoid (‘Did they really mean me? Why? Why would they choose to follow me? I guess they must have some ulterior motive…’). I keep thinking it must be a fluke, or that people are just clicking the ‘follow’ button in an attempt to get a follow back. Or maybe it’s all just a huge conspiracy to make me believe I can actually write and then – suddenly- they’ll pull the rug from under my feet! It can’t really be about what I say. Not because I think that what I say is so very horrible – but rather for the sheer number of mind-blowing, astonishing, beautiful, amazing blogs out there.

I read so many, and I know you’re not supposed to compare (yeah, right), but … well, so many blogs are just so much better! I keep thinking: ‘I’d kill to be able to write like that!’ or ‘I will never be as good!’ or even ‘I might just as well pack it in right now.’ And it’s HARD to overcome that. Sometimes I even have to get angry at myself and tell myself to stop the self-pity-party and the envy and concentrate on my own thing: no, I don’t have anything to say that nobody else hasn’t said a thousand times before. No, I don’t have a style like Hemingway, I can’t characterize like Jane Austen and I don’t have the humour of Dickens or Wilde and no, my poems aren’t fit to swallow the dust of Leonard Cohen’s and no, I’m not an expert on Dylan, neither his biography, nor his discography.

But I have my own view on things, I have my own voice and nobody perceives the world exactly the same as I do, so maybe… yeah, maybe it’s alright. Maybe I’m not just shouting into an empty wood. Maybe there are people in there listening. And it might just maybe be possible that they like what I have to say – not because it’s so very special, so very beautiful, so very perfect, but maybe because it’s unique?

.

P.S. And by the way – I AM totally perplexed and grateful and humbled by all of you who have liked one of my posts, commented on something I wrote or are following my blog – I never expected this. Thanks for making me happy. And thanks for making me freak out. After all, if it didn’t mean anything, I wouldn’t obsess about it so much!

.

(Disclaimer: This is not meant as emotional blackmail to make you say that ‘of course’ you like my blog – although if you really want to say that, I’m not stopping you! 😉 I’m not asking for reassurance, I’m really only bringing to paper the frequent dialogue / struggle that goes on in my head!)

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About wordsurfer

writer, ex-teacher, human rights believer & fighter, traveller, adventure-seeker, freedom lover, global citizen. big on daydreams, less so on reality.

Posted on July 9, 2012, in day-to-day and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 8 Comments.

  1. I understand completely how you feel, and if it’s any consolation, I feel like this every time. I keep asking myself why do people like my blog, comment or read. My words are too simple and without much depth in my opinion…but they are my words.

    I often fear that my followers will soon read into my insecurities and unfollow me lol…but writing makes my heart soar into places of inexplicable joy and while I appreciate the support, I also know I do this first and foremost for myself. Everything else is a fine bonus. I don’t know much about Bob Dylan but he has a lot of fans but views would be different, I think that is what would make them interesting.

    Great post!!! It’s amazing that despite some of our many differences as humans, we often all have the same fears and concerns :).

    • It is very reassuring that others have the same insecurities! Even though we never see that. I always think your posts come off as really self-confident and sure of what you want to say! It would be very, very interesting if one could experience oneself from outside, like others do. Such a lot to learn from that! It could be a sort of initiation rite into adulthood – ‘face yourself and survive!’. 🙂

      You’re right, of course – we do the writing for ourselves. But getting responses is just such a validation. Most people (and me very much included) won’t think of something we did as great unless at least two people have told us that it is. And even then, if those people are family or friends, we discount it and think ‘Oh, they’re just saying it to be nice…’. Isn’t that totally stupid and unnecessary? So hard to turn off, though.

      I guess being aware of it is the first step.

      And I really like the abundance on your blog – you put so much of what goes on around and inside you into words, and words that let the readers in on the atmosphere.

      • I do feel anxious whenever I wonder about all those things you mention. I think it is human nature to want to belong, be part, be loved, be liked. We all crave it and need it, one way or another. I also want to say that, when ever I feel like that, I focus on the moment. It helps me release that stress and keeps me going! 😀

  2. Patricia Awapara

    After reading your post I thought the reason I liked it.. well, for me it felt sincere. I am a new blogger as well, and I never really thought about the process of blogging and I don’t have any strategy, but one thing I can tell you is that… if you write because you love it, then you won’t have to worry so much about anything else. this is something you should be enjoying.. not torture.. heehee.. don’t worry what people think, so much. Just write!

    • You’re so right! We shouldn’t worry so much about what others think – except that if we didn’t want any kind of exchange or discussion, we would just be writing our stories, and not writing a blog. 😉
      And thank you very much for the compliment!

  3. I know exactly how you feel! Every time I’m writing a book review, I get a small fear that I’m not liking the right books or that I’m disliking a book that everyone else thinks is amazing. Someone says she’s going to read a book based on my review, and I fear that it won’t live up to her expectation and that it’ll be all my fault. I get a new follower and assume, like you said, that they’re just trying to collect followers.

    This was a nice post, because it helped me realize that I’m not the only one who thinks like this, and that we shouldn’t doubt ourselves so much. 🙂

    • Oh my, yes, that responsibility would make me freak out! I write about stuff I like, but I haven’t yet done a full review, and after reading your account on it, I’m not sure I have the guts!
      But you know, I recently read something where a music blogger was trying to describe the difference between a (private) music blog and a (more professional) music magazine and the thing that really stuck in my mind was when he said that music bloggers don’t write bad reviews. They will never be negative about a band, a new album, a song. Because they are fans, and so they just write about the things they love, and they don’t have the responsibility of a magazine to evaluate something they might not like. So I try and remember that, because if you really love a song, or a book, and you are honest and sincere about it and pass on your love for that story or that piece of music, then you’re in the clear. Nobody can accuse you of loving something and being positive about it (well, they can, but those are trolls or idiots and not worth paying attention to). So no more fears of passing on your passion and love for books – you’re doing the world a favour! 🙂

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