My son Chris put together a YouTube video this morning about my blogging experience over the last two years. I will post that link when he is finished editing, but I thought I would share one of the ideas I spoke about in the interview.
I am not an accomplished writer. I’ve had only a few things published over the years. I suffer from maladies many writers suffer: laziness and inconsistency to name two. In spite of this, I have felt that I have a message to share with the world. That may sound arrogant, but I truly believe everyone has a message. In a way, that is why we are born. The form we use to share our message varies depending on our gifts, our passions and the circumstances of our lives. Our gifts are freely given by God; our responsibility is to hone them and use them for the good of others. You might say that a gift is really our unique nature. I just is.
There is another malady I suffer, more human perhaps than ones unique to writers. It is fear. Here are some of the fears I had about writing for others:
- Would my audience like me when they read what I wrote? Was I going to lose friends because of the opinions I shared?
I tend to be more liberal than conservative but many of those I love are people who hold their conservative views deeply.The reality is that few of my conservative friends and relatives read my blog. That is a little disconcerting because they are the ones whose minds I’d like to change. If they read it and don’t like it, they are kind enough not to tell me, I guess. Through the blog, I have been revealing to these folks who I really am. If someone reads me and sticks around, I guess that means they are pretty good friends. In the case of relatives…they are stuck with me.
- Would I be misunderstood?
This was a good fear to have. It forced me to ponder very carefully each word, phrase, and metaphor that I put out there. I tried to listen to myself with the ears of others, especially those with very different views or people who have been wounded. In two years, I have only been challenged on one idea. Most people who took issue with what I wrote responded with respect and an intent to add more information than to refute.
- What if I change my thinking?
I am keenly aware of how my ideas about life change as I live more of it. What I believed 5 years ago I may trash as ridiculous later. I remember that being a point made when I took a through-the-mail (pre-computer) writing course years ago. A writer has to get over the fact that they may be labeled, pigeon-holed, or whatever you call it. Even if you write something later to refute the writings of that weird self of years ago, the same folks may not be read your later reflection. But this is a human problem. A person may remember, painfully, something a parent said to them when they were child that that same parent, who matured over the years, would never dream of saying.
- My last fear was the fear of hurting those I love.
Sometimes the most important lessons I learn come because of the encounters I have with members of my own family. There a skill of I learned when teaching parenting of altering a story enough to protect the innocent. I also learned that you don’t always have to share the story in order to share the wisdom.