Why have I been MIA for the past 2 weeks? Honestly, I froze. I hit a wall when it comes to my blog. I was hearing from a few family and friends that people were really enjoying it, but I still couldn't come up with anything. I'm a racing horse who has won a few Saratoga races, but refuses to leave the gate at The Derby. Crumble under pressure much?
I've been checking books out of the library on writing inspiration and writing styles in an attempt to get myself restarted. A few gave me some topics that I'd like to explore more in depth, but, up until today, I hadn't read anything that really got me going. While at the library, I try to look for books that aren't so much about technique or "rules", but more about inspiring the reader to flesh out the ideas in his/her brain. My latest batch of books has been especially helpful, and in the first lines of one I found what I needed to write (at least) this post. "The only way to begin is to begin, and begin right now...I have no doubt the day is coming when you will be wiser or better informed or more highly skilled than you are now, but you will never be more ready to begin writing than you are right this minute." (The Modern Library Writer's Workshop, Stephen Koch) Cliche attack - there is no better time than the present. Stop watching tv, intensely surfing Facebook, and get your hand out of that bag of chips. Start now. Whether it be writing or some other venture you've been thinking about for weeks, months, or years.
I am still embarrassed to tell people I hardly know that I write a blog, or even to drop the comment "I wrote about that recently in my blog" at a gathering of friends, but the whole reason I started this blog was to let myself go and write whatever I want, whenever I want. I'm here to refine my writing skills, and if people are entertained or bored, I want their feedback. There's no reason to hide out for weeks after getting negative or positive feedback, but to take that information and run with it. Tweak (thanks, Mom) something that's good to make it great, and fix something that's bad to make it work.
This has been a lot of "me" talk, but it applies to anyone who is struggling with their fear of actually putting words, thoughts, feelings onto paper and sharing it with the public. The only way you can get better is to get the information out of your head, and into the minds of others. No one can get better by keeping everything bottled up. You've got to share yourself with others at some point in order to improve.
The takeaway principle from the first few pages* of Koch's book, which is useful no matter what you're writing is simply this;