One year ago today I began a daily blogging streak. I didn’t necessarily intend to begin daily blogging when I published an experience and lesson about what we see and what we notice.
Although I did desire, for a long time leading up to that, to publish more frequently and consistently.
“Frequently” and “consistently” are vague words. In my world, that typically translates to daily.
Yet when I published a year ago today I wasn’t thinking “this will be the first day of a daily practice.” I simply published something that I wrote.
And then I did it again the next day. And the next.
A few days turned into a week. A week turned into a month. A month turned into 2 months. And so on.
And here we are. One year later.
I have published a lot. I have written even more than what I’ve published here. And I have learned so much in the process.
So. Many. Lessons.
It’s bigger than a blog post. (It may be a book.)
I hardly know where to begin. True to form, I began by thinking I’d go to one place but the influence of recent events has sent me to a different place. I’m going with it.
Getting Past the Gatekeepers
For me, the biggest challenge with publishing blog posts has been crossing the gap from writing to publishing.
That gap felt like a gaping void filled with voices of doubt, criticism, judgment, comparison, and fear.
As my finger navigated to the “publish” button I would hear the voices:
It’s not finished.
This really sucks.
Other people cover this topic more eloquently.
It rambles too much.
And I listened to them.
My training as a lawyer got in my way often; I treated every piece like a legal brief, trying to make it perfect.
I’d write and review and re-review and edit, and by the time I was done, it was no longer the thing I wanted to say.
I had scores of draft pieces littering my writing apps and journals.
At one point I looked at them and felt a pain in my heart as I heard a different voice:
These pieces can serve others. Why are you hiding this? Why are you hiding yourself?
In July 2017, I wrote a piece in which I shared some of the lessons I learned in the year I spent off of Facebook. I had been marinating that piece for a while, in my head and in various drafts. Until one day when I returned from the gym and just wrote something and published it. Then I imported it to Medium, and I went on to other things.
Within a few weeks it had gone viral. By October of last year it had been read over 10,000 times. More than the numbers, what struck me was the highlighting.
Reading it back, I cringed at so many parts:
This could have been edited out.
That was a tangent.
But that me looking through my lens, and hearing the voice my critic.
One of my favorite features of Medium is the ability to highlight text.
Readers had highlighted almost every word of that article.
It resonated for people. It served.
And it struck me: You don’t know. Seeing what readers highlighted, I wondered: what could I have left out of that piece?
This is the beauty of life, and the beauty of sharing our work and experiences with others. We don’t know what will resonate, what words will save a life or inspire a new thought. Words are so powerful.
It was a breakthrough moment for me.
What if I could force myself to do that today?
And so I have. For 365 days (366 today). One way or another I’ve found a way to get past the gatekeepers in my mind, to cross that void of doubt and fear and press the publish button. I’ve put my pains and my hopes, my feelings and my thoughts, my observations and my experiences, out into the world, with the hope that they will serve.
What I’ve Learned
This is the most important lesson I’ve learned over the past year.
Writing is like life.
This is life. We set out on a road, expecting to go to a specific place, and if we follow our hearts we might take some unexpected turns. What looks to us, in the moment, as a horrible disaster, may in retrospect have been the golden path to a beautiful place.
Sometimes we are asked to leave things unfinished, pick up and start something new. Sometimes a chapter of our experience rambles on for too long. And sometimes it stops short and leaves us wanting more.
We are in a constant state of endings and beginnings.
Each of us has something to share, some way to help others. No matter where you are on the path, your experience can serve. But only if you share it.
Sometimes it takes paragraphs to find the one sentence that reaches across the page or the screen and makes a difference to the one who reads it.
We don’t know which words, which sentence, which paragraph, or which message will pierce someone’s heart. The only thing we know is this: words kept hidden cannot serve.
And, so, it is not our task to censor the message. Our task is to listen to what calls to be shared, and to share it in the best way we can in the moment.
If I can do it, so can you.
Thank you for reading, and for your presence. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve you in some small way, and hope that you’ve found something that touched you. If you have, please consider signing up for my mailing list.