Hello to anyone still subscribed to See Ally Go after my unintentional and unplanned hiatus. How are you, and are you doing well? Hopefully this post finds you full of happiness, healthy and safe wherever you may be.
This year, for all of us, has been unapologetically unpredictable and many of us have had to make big, difficult, decisions. Still, we’ve all been doing the thing our species does best: adapt. But just because we’re good at doing something doesn’t mean that thing is easy to execute.
A friend recently had a birthday. It was a milestone birthday which prompted an existential crisis in him. What had he done with his life? What sort of impact had he made on the world? What about the things he hadn’t achieved yet that were on his list? What sorts of people had he surrounded himself with? What sort of relationships did he need, but had failed to surround himself with? Things like this. In most of his troubles I listened quietly and was merely a place to vent, but on the topic of impacting the world I spoke up. I told him about my revelation last year: that I don’t want to change humanity, or be remembered, or make the world a better place, but just live a simple and eco-conscious life that I can enjoy to the fullest. “Ah yes,” he said. “Then the other stuff comes later.”
It took me a few days to realize I wasn’t being honest with myself. I did actually care about impacting someone and making the world a better place. That’s what writing is, its what I’ve been taught to to, to use written language to convey a message that will impact someone else. I realized after this conversation with my friend, what has been holding me back from making progress with my novel and publishing here was a question.
Writing is something I love to do, but outside of university I’ve had a difficult time doing it. We spent a lot of time there learning how to make routines that falling out of the habit of writing wouldn’t occur. That hasn’t been a problem. Instead, I find that I’m entirely hung up on the pressure of publishing. Is the thing I’m pressing publish on, is the thing I’m spending hours writing and editing, worth publishing in the first place? Is it content I truly wish to send into the world and have someone else read?
Since 2012 I’ve had several blogs for short periods of time, under about two years. While I’ve loved writing them, there came a point when I review the words I’ve published and panic. Feelings like embarrassment, shame and anxiety creep up. I don’t like the things I’ve said, the things I had felt were worthy of publishing. So, I burn the project to the ground before deleting it and turning my back on it forever. See Ally Go isn’t a blog I want to fall out of love with, it’s not a space I ever want to feel ashamed of.
So what kind of content is worthy of publishing these days? In a world where everything is at one’s fingertips, what does a creator dare to send forth? What is worthy of taking up internet space that’s littered with influencers and corporations selling lifestyles and products? What is worthy of existence online when there is already so much that will never be read?
What do I really want my words to do for others? Is there anything I can say that is important enough to publish in a limitless space? These are the things I’ve come to ask myself, the things that keep me up late in the night, the things that make me second guess the need for my blog to exist.
In the throws of this existential crisis, when I sit to write posts for See Ally Go, my mind has been going blank. This time last year I knew exactly what I wanted to talk about: creativity, my love of nature and my photography. But this year, my heart is deeply confused. I sit here, on the other side of the screen, feeling like an impostor in all of these areas anymore. Who am I to weigh-in, or dish out any kind of encouragement?
These days I find myself focused on living a simple and quiet life, enjoying the fruits of a lifestyle my husband and I have worked tirelessly to achieve for ourselves. By recognizing our own priorities and ignoring societal expectations, we’ve created a modest life of peace and calmness. I’m not sure that topic of conversation would be interesting, but simplicity and calmness are two things I would very much like to put forth into the world. Especially so in a time where things are so stressful and uncertain for so many people.
I guess this little essay doesn’t answer any of the questions I posed in it very well, but, bear with me. I don’t really have all the answers, and I don’t know that I’ll have them any time soon. Still, I wanted to put this post out there for anyone else that’s working creatively, or has a creative hobby, and is feeling these similar things. Remember to allow yourself and your work some grace. Does every idea need published, or shared? No. But that doesn’t mean crafting it is any less useful than something that should be.