There it is, right in front of you: pristine and untouched. You have an idea in your head of what you’re going to do on this canvas, and it’s still perfect, but you know the second you make that first brushstroke or pen mark- it’s tainted. You irrevocably enter into the struggle of matching your idea with what’s happening on that canvas, and the further you go, the more what’s happening on that canvas starts to exist in its own right. Your perfect idea is no longer immaculate, it now has to contend with reality for better or for worse. It’s an incredible risk, a terrible feeling, and there’s no way out of it.
I took a break from blogging because, well, life got in the way. But I would be lying to myself if that was the only thing that got in the way. Besides not having enough time to dedicate to writing and drawing, I didn’t have (don’t have) that many people engaging with my work. It started to feel like I was speaking to an empty room. To add salt to the wound, every time I read what I wrote, and sometimes while I was writing, I thought it could be better, that it wasn’t living up to the idea I had in my head.
When I started to consider getting back into blogging I was happy to find out that I wasn’t alone in my struggles. Striving for perfection is a common cause of writer’s block and stops many people from writing at all. Also, growing a following, connecting with people, finding your voice and improving your skills takes time and it’s easy to get discouraged in the process. Many bloggers run into the same problems, and fortunately there is help out there. How to relaunch your blog by problogger is one example that was a great help to me.
But there was also another reason I decided to step back into the arena. If it’s true that staring at a blank canvas can be a terrible feeling, it’s also true that you wouldn’t be there in the first place without having an idea you thought worth pursing. Turns out I still have a lot to say, do, and experiment with that I’m excited about. So, as daunting as it is to stand again in front of that blank canvas with my ideas in mind, wondering whether I should just walk away, it seems a far greater loss to give up than to fail trying. It’s also true that just simply trusting the process and working through your challenges can take you to new places you hadn’t imagined possible before.
Above all, I’m comforted by the fact that many artists, writers and brilliant minds before me faced the same challenges and did it anyway.
Cheers to getting out of my own way and trusting the process!