Blogging stresses me out. I love it when I actually do it, especially when we have a themed month, or when I do a joint post with Heidi and Kati. I get excited to read the comments people leave, and I love responding to them. But generally when I first sit down to write a post I freeze up. I’ll write one sentence.
I’ll stare at my computer but no matter how hard I try, there are days where I cannot turn that sentence into a paragraph. I think about other bloggers, bloggers with published books, bloggers with bigger platforms, bloggers who are great at finding awesomely clever pictures to highlight their posts. And suddenly what I want to write isn’t good enough. It’s not original. It’s not something that is going to appeal to anyone besides me. Insecurity takes hold and I would rather produce nothing than something less than perfect.
I was struggling with this earlier this week. Then I thought about something I learned when I used to work with high school students. After I graduated from college I thought I wanted to teach high school government/economics. I’d never been interested in teaching while in college, so a friend of mine suggested I test things out by volunteering with high school students.
For the record, I love working with high school students. I think they’re fun and funny, and I love being able to support and encourage them as they navigate what I think are some of the most challenging years in life. But the difficult part about working with high school students is that sometimes it feels as if the work you’re doing, and the time you’re investing, makes absolutely no difference.
I remember someone telling me that when you work with high school students it’s all an act of faith, because often you’re not going to see the impact you have on them until years down the road—and sometimes you never will see that impact. You just have to trust that the work you’re doing is making a difference.
I was reminded of that yesterday, when I was feeling insecure about my blogging.
When I first started writing I read a lot of blogs, but I never commented. It probably took me over a year to work up the courage to comment on my first blog. These blogs were having a significant impact on my writing and my life, but most of those bloggers had no idea. Now I try to be much better at leaving comments, which is funny because while I enjoy all the blogs I read, I don’t know that any of them impact me as much as those early posts did when I first started writing, when I didn’t have any other writer friends and I felt totally alone in this strange writing world.
A year ago, when I saw a post on Krista Van Dolzer’s blog about a contest called Pitch Wars, it changed my life. I know that might sound extreme, but it’s absolutely true—and not just because I think it’s part of the reason I found my agent. As I’ve said before, I made dear friends through that contest, like Heidi and Kati, and our amazing mentor Elizabeth Briggs.
I don’t know that any of my posts are making a huge difference for anyone who reads them, but as I think back about all of this, it’s a good reminder that I never know what kind of impact I could possibly have. And I think that’s true for all of us.
What about all of you? Do any of you ever feel this way? Or have any of you been impacted by someone who has no idea that they’ve changed your life?