My baby Casual Anxiety turned one year old on Saturday and this also happens to be the 50th article, so I decided that it would be appropriate to reflect on what I’ve learned this past year from blogging. Let’s jump right into it!
1. Not all your drafts will make it off the bench when you want them to. Or anytime soon, frankly. I have articles with just titles, articles that have two sentences, articles that are halfway done, and some articles that are fully written out but just don’t feel complete sitting in my drafts folder. I used to believe that just because I started an article I had to finish, edit, and publish it right away. That’s not the case. Some article ideas are golden (or not) and may need time to mature and for the right words to find you. This is totally okay. I feel like people don’t realize that for every article we publish, there’s probably half an article waiting to be worked on. I currently have 24 article drafts waiting for my attention, and somehow I ended up creating new ideas for new articles further down the line.
2. You don’t have to comment on everything. Blogging and being a newspaper are different. The latter means that you are reporting on things you think everyone wants to read about because they’re “important.” This gets old very quickly. For your blog to be successful and for you to actually want to continue it every week (or however often your publish), you have to write about things that are important to you. A perfect example would be my two articles on Lemonade and A Seat at the Table. I told myself that I did not want to write articles on those two albums. My reasoning was because that was expected and because I saw dozens of articles already floating around the internet. Why add my perspective (I’ll expand on this in a second)? I ended up writing on those albums anyway, but there have been other times where major pop culture events occur and I think to myself, I should totally write a quick article about this because people will totally read it, and this shouldn’t be your motivation. You are not a newspaper, so that is not your job.
3. Frustration comes with the territory. Frustration that a dope article didn’t get as many shares as you like. Frustration that your link isn’t working. Frustration that people aren’t commenting. Frustration that work and school piled up so you didn’t get to finish or proofread your article in time. Frustration that the creative energies in the world aren’t speaking to you and you have a mean case of writer’s block. Frustration sucks. I used to become frustrated with myself mostly when I didn’t make the time to write/publish an article or when my writer’s block took over. I realized probably a quarter of the way through that the best part about having your own blog is that you make your own rules. I allowed myself to miss a week (or two) unapologetically, knowing that I had to take care of other things and that good ole Casual Anxiety would be waiting here for me to return. I allowed myself the autonomy to make the decision that I wouldn’t post and then try to market an article while I was on my family vacation or having a bad week.
4. You deserve to be heard. You would think with me being an actress and all that I would have come to realize that I deserve to be heard. And furthermore, that I should demand to be heard. This is an especially tough and scary concept to wrap your head around. Trust me on this one. It is even more tough and scary when you are talking on matters of social justice and politics. These can be polarizing or controversial topics that can get people pretty heated. Besides that, however, we can sometimes feel as if our voice is lesser on certain topics because we don’t have a degree in the field or the privilege of everyone making room for us to speak (cough cough) or whatever the case may be. Blogging taught me that my opinions are not only valid, but that they are not in solitude. You begin to realize that some of the very people you may walk past everyday or someone across the country share your perspective or experience. Blogging gave me a forum to speak my mind on topics I didn’t even know I was passionate about. It allowed me to say my piece without the threat of being interrupted, invalidated, and overshadowed by those who have been taught that their opinion outweighs everybody elses. Blogging became my soap box, and for that, I have absolutely no regrets about publishing that first article.
A year of blogging has been a wild ride, and no matter what I end up doing after I graduate college and beyond, I definitely see Casual Anxiety being part of my life for a very, very long time.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!
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Copyright 2017 Ahtiya Liles