Today I’ve been reading in William Zinsser’s book Writing About Your Life. He writes about being true to yourself, and writing every day and trusting that as you write you will relax and find your natural voice. And the only way to do this is to write, every day, and start from where you are.
In Zinsser’s book, he is writing about memoir, yet the same thing holds true for blog writing too. We have to start where we are, write about what is important to us and learn as we go. And we have to start where we are and journey to where we want to go. And therein lies the problem, for me.
I don’t want to start where I am and go through the awkward learning stages in order to be an excellent blogger—I just want to already be done with the learning and be brilliant! And that isn’t how it works.
I have a workbook by Cheri Huber called How You Do Anything Is How You Do Everything. And I think that the title is true, because I started working through the book and then put it aside when it got hard and uncomfortable.
Another thing that started me thinking about trusting the process is that I bought a digital camera yesterday because I want to be able to post pictures here. Now, I’ve used digital cameras before; we have one at work, I used one in another job that I had, and I’ve taken pictures using friend’s cameras. But yesterday I bought the camera that I wanted, the one that felt right to me, then brought it home and had to start learning all the features and controls that aren’t exactly like the others that I’ve used. And what happened? Right away, I had a bad case of buyer’s remorse because I didn’t get one that I was more familiar with. And I told myself that I’d never learn how to take good pictures anyway. Thank goodness, some common sense started kicking in, and I was able to back off of the self-flagellation. After all, I think that I’ll need to take more than just 12 pictures before I can feel comfortable with this camera! And I’ll need to write more than just a few blog entries before I can feel comfortable with blogging.
My youngest granddaughter is just learning to walk. In the last week, she has gone from standing to taking one step to now being brave enough to take three steps at a time before she falls. She doesn’t get discouraged because she’s only taking three steps. No, she looks up at us and beams with joy and pride that she’s taken any steps at all. And we praise her and help her and love her, and she tries again later when she’s ready. She trusts the process.
Zinsser says, “Write about things that are important to you” and “be true to yourself.” He also says “It’s a privilege to write for one other person. Do it with gratitude and with pleasure.” So my life lesson right now seems to be telling me: Enjoy this time of beginning. Play with words, play with the camera, play with learning. Have fun! And trust the process.