I realized today that more than a month has passed since I started this blog. How time flies when you are keeping busy. A one month anniversary might not sound like much, but for me to write a public blog is a huge step, and I am quite impressed with myself for writing 16 blog entries during the first month alone. The question is not of finding the time to write, but having the courage to write and then to press the ‘publish’ button.
Pressing that blue button is always a leap. It is falling onto the mercy of strangers. Like David Mitchell‘s main character remarks in Black Swan Green “If you show someone something you’ve written, you give them a sharpened stake, lie down in your coffin, and say, ‘When you’re ready’.” I think that sums it up quite nicely.
I am one of those annoying people who are always convinced that whatever they do is going to be a complete failure until it turns out ok, or even good. My university days were spent in a constant state of dread, waiting to get feedback on papers that I was sure were utter disasters; or even worse, stumbling over my words as I rushed through presentations at seminars, convinced that I was making a fool of myself. My reasonable self tried to convince that irrational version of me that the likelihood of complete failure was very small indeed. I was not a brilliant student, and failed some exams (always oral ones) but when it came to writing papers I consistently got good grades. So why, after so many successes, was it always impossible for me to convince myself that it would turn out OK? Does reason really have no power over those kind of negative thoughts and emotions? I was studying philosophy at the time and the traditional idea of Western philosophy idealizes the opposite of my situation. Reason should be the master of emotions. I doubt that this is ever fully the case, and the thought of cold reason having complete control over our emotions scares me, but in my case reason would have needed a serious boost.
Well, reason never did manage to convince me of my own worth, and consequently I have never stopped being scared of showing my work to others. My sister is the only one to have seen the things I have written throughout the years, that is, until I started this blog. Going from a public consisting of the one person you trust above all others, to any random person that might stumble upon your blog, is incredibly scary. Especially since I know that the preceding years of writers block (see earlier post) have worn away some of those writing skills that used to save me at the end of the day.
Therefore I am proud of myself for this blog, as well as another act of writing bravery achieved this month. I sent an entry to a flash fiction competition held by Sterling Books in Brussels and I won! And as usual I was convinced that the entry was embarrassingly bad, and cringed as I hit the send button. I guess I never learn…