It used to be that I was able to put aside self-consciousness about publishing on my blog. I published unpolished random writing exercises, outtakes of nothings on my mind, vignettes of a woman sweeping her walk at the beach.
Sometime in the recent past, maybe in the last year or so, that has changed. I have theories. One is that I feel repetitive. Another is that I got self-conscious about other people reading what I wrote. A third is that I questioned my motives — why do I need these words to be public instead of private? A final one, and probably the biggest one of 2020 — since the pandemic began, and since I began waking up to the misogyny, white supremacy, and racism that are still very much alive in the US, and since my mind is almost exclusively occupied by work and the disgraceful and horrifying state of our country and leadership — is that everything else feels insignificant in comparison.
Because of this recent self-consciousness, I haven’t been blogging much. What I’ve discovered from this is that when I don’t blog, I feel like my psychic arteries are clogged. There’s something about getting words out — not just out of my body but out into the world — that unblocks me. I guess this is what is meant by self-expression, though I don’t really know what I’m expressing when I blog. I don’t have a big message to share with the world (a fifth reason for my self-consciousness). This isn’t art, I’m not inspiring big thoughts, there’s no layered meaning to my posts, I’m not changing anyone’s life. Blogging just somehow serves as a release, like opening the windows when you’ve been shut up inside for too long.
I want my windows open. I have been shut up inside for too long.
To unclog my psychic arteries and open the windows for my pacing soul, I want to blog more, and I want to blog comfortably again, in my own skin, despite self-consciousness. To help get me out of my rut, I looked into fresh options to inspire me. I found the Brainsparker app. I used a couple of the free prompts with success, and I wanted more. They have a variety of “card packs”, including a blogger’s pack, and I was curious — what kinds of creative prompts would a blogger’s pack include? They already have a journaling pack and a writer’s pack. I wondered how Brainsparker creators perceive blogging and what kinds of prompts they thought fitting for bloggers.
When I found samples of cards from the blogger’s pack, I understood. The prompts are titles like “The best 10 ways to improve XYZ” or “The single best way to get good at XYZ.” These make me think of Buzzfeed headlines or blog posts written by companies who use blogging as part of their content strategy. I forgot that blogs can be monetized, and these are the types of titles that drive traffic, and that this is what many people think about when they think about blogging.
Needless to say, that’s not the type of blogging I do, and I suspect many of you reading also see blogging as something bigger than clickbaity headlines: blogging is writing, journaling, thinking, philosophizing, opining, sharing, teaching, expressing. The existence of this blogger’s pack and the type of prompts it provides got me to thinking about blogging in general, and what it means, and what people do it for, and what I do it for.
And here we are at a blog post wherein I realize I blog to express and release and breathe fresh air and unclog my psychic arteries. So I guess Brainsparker worked :). I definitely don’t need that blogger’s pack of prompts, but they have other packs to spark creativity that I am curious about, including colors, quotes, and a what if? pack that looks fun. There’s also a pack for photographers, and the prompts look like they might be good for writers, too.
I want to preserve this space for hope and beauty, and this post is my first step in unblocking myself to do that. For now I’ll continue to seek external inspiration and prompts until stuff starts flowing on its own. I cracked open own my prompt box again. I haven’t published anything I’ve written from the prompts, but maybe I should start, just to get me over the hump of, It’s okay to not write about the big stuff; it’s okay to write about the mundane, and maybe even beauty in the mundane, to for the very purpose of bringing a little light despite the big stuff.