Written by: Jorinde Berben
Image credit: pexels.com
Today is the one year anniversary of this blog. It all started in the midst of the first Covid lockdown with this first post. The set-up of my blog was to dive into how you could do therapy and emotional work on yourself, and it’s branched out to include ways to become conscious of yourself, your environment and to deal with your own triggers.
I set out blogging not knowing how long I’d last this time. I’ve quit blogs before.
The one promise I did make myself was that I would be as honest as possible and would try not to shy away from topics that felt tricky to talk about. I would allow myself to be vulnerable. The fact that I had only a handful of anonymous readers at first made it easy to show myself, but as more of you found your way to this blog, it also required more courage of me.
There is so much I have learned through this blog, and through writing in general. I’ve picked out 10 lessons that I really want to share with you.
- Vulnerability attracts
Not sex, per sé. I’ve written several posts on sexuality and intimacy, but they haven’t done nearly as well as the ones in which I really strip myself down emotionally. The post on why we don’t always enjoy spending time with our children was viewed far more than the one on sex and love, even though that one was also very vulnerable.
- It takes courage to be real, even to yourself
When you put yourself out there, even if it’s only for a small number of people, even if it’s only in a diary that you might read in a few years’ time… it takes courage to really dive inside and show what’s there. We don’t always want to see in which way we are irrational, or unkind, or greedy. It takes real courage to take a hard look at your own shadow.
- Writing is as much processing as it is representing
When I write about an issue, I often start out not really knowing where the piece will go. I just pick something that is top of mind, or that I’m struggling with, or that I’ve noticed. Often more insight will come as I am writing, and I’ll feel I have a better grip of the idea after I’ve posted.
- Unplanned writing works best
My schedule of writing twice a week was, at times, not easy to keep up with, but I soon found out that writing about something that mattered to me deeply was the best way to get something good out there in a reasonable time. Out of the 105 posts I’ve written, I’ve really struggled with only about 15 of them, and planning topics too far in advance was often the cause for that struggle. For the same reason, I’ve often abandoned half written posts because they just no longer resonated with me.
- Statistics are useless
I like to check stats for my blog: “Oh, there was someone from Kenya who read my post today” or “wow, this post really caught on”, but in the end, there’s very little value in this information. It doesn’t help you find topics, or improve the quality of your writing. The only thing it does is set expectations that I, in case of view counts, usually fail to meet. I don’t spend time promoting my blog because, frankly, I don’t want to. What matters to me is that my content is reliable, honest and courageous. Whether there are 5 people or 500 who read that content is less important. That being said…
- Readers breathe life into a blog
Knowing there are people who read your posts and reading responses that are appreciative or challenge you to write better is incredibly valuable. Knowing there’s someone that you are showing up for, motivates you to show up as your best self, or at least try to. Somehow, I don’t think I would’ve made it through a whole year if this blog had been a purely private one. So thank you for your time and attention; the two most valuable assets in this world.
- Things get old… quickly…
It’s really fun, and somtimes a bit uncanny, to read through old posts and to realize how fast things change. There are posts from a few months ago that already feel like I couldn’t write them anymore today. The post on learning how to feel was a really important one to write a year ago, but now much of it has been integrated and I feel like I’m looking at a much younger version of myself. Because of that, there are times you will contradict yourself. This is always better than not challenging yourself.
- You’re bound to repeat yourself
Some issues are also adamant and stick around. I’ve written several posts about fear of attachment, because it’s a major issue for me. I’ve also written quite a lot on anger as well, because of how often it comes up for me. I try not to write the same post twice, though I’m sure I’ve repeated the same thoughts several times. Then again, I don’t really feel there’s anything wrong with that either. Repetition is useful in order to let stuff sink in, when you read and when you write.
- The key to connection is recognition
I find that the people who respond to a post are those people who’ve recognized a part of themselves in the text. Reading that someone else also acts like a jerk sometimes can be an opening to accepting that part of yourself. Knowing you’re not the only one who creates escape routes in life can help you take a look at that practice as well.
- Life is, absolutely, undoubtedly, fascinatingly beautiful!
I have little trouble finding inspiration for the blog if I draw from real life, which goes to show me how incredibly amazing that life really is. It’s full of turmoil, and love, and vulnerability. There’s pain and joy intimately entwined with one another. Seeing a fraction of this reflected in the blog posts I’ve written makes me feel a combination of gratitude and awe.
What has your experience with blogging/writing been? Do you recognize any of the lessons I described?