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On writing and beyond.
“It’s by writing, by stepping back a bit from the real thing to look at it, that we are most present.” Alison Bechdel
I felt pure excitement when I decided to start a blog where I could speak my own voice, no holds barred; something I would create on my own. It was to be about travel but also about everything else I wanted to talk about.
I was surprised too, as I recalled that from being a little girl at primary school, and long after, it had always been a nightmare for me when I had to write an essay. I had hated it! I never knew what to say, unless it was on something I had just read about.
I remember looking forward to finishing school so that I wouldn’t have to write anymore. Rather ironic…
Funnily enough, my first job was to write nice, compelling letters in response to complaints from our clients.
Weird! I could not believe it, and I’m not too sure what happened to me because I started to enjoy it.
When had this change taken place?
At that point, I also realized that what I really loved was the English language; thanks to Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Thomas Hardy, Joseph Conrad and many others who made me fall in love with it.
I have read quite a bit, though not enough and I am still trying to catch up.
And the more I read, the more I feel this urge to write. When I decided to start this project, I felt the necessity to know more about writing techniques from the great teachers, so I bought all the possible books I knew of from Stephen King, Hemingway, Pressfield and many others, modern and past.
I became anxious to know more, to read one more book, one more article, receive one more advise; and the more I read, the more I realized how much I still need to read in order to be able to write the perfect piece.
But that will never happen as the perfect piece doesn’t exist.
I could read all the books ever written about writing and still never become a writer unless… I do the work, just WRITE!
That’s the most important advice that all of these great authors have in common. DO THE DAMN WORK! As simple as that.
The fact that English is not my native language doesn’t discourage me at all, although I do understand and perceive the limitations I am dealing with.
I just want to speak about these beautiful places I am seeing and the life I am experiencing, and inspire people to go and travel.
I feel like it’s my duty more than my right – not sure where this is coming from.
I have always been an introvert and outgoing at the same time, if that is possible.
And then I dream about writing a book on my life, which I reckon has been quite a trip so far.
Full of mental obstacles – which were disguised as awkward situations- and learning, lots of learning; bad choices, good ones, challenges and fortunate “coincidences” (more of that soon), if you want to call them that; great people and less great ones, but most of all, a story of personal growth.
I want to inspire through my mistakes and my achievements, the books I have read, and the lessons I have learned.
And then I pause.
Who the heck do I think I am? Another travel blogger, another book on travel? Boring! Can’t you just be a little more original? And I stop writing; I fall back, becoming withdrawn. All the excitement disappears, enthusiasm … what’s that? I am hopeless. “Nobody wants to read your work”, I tell myself.
The world doesn’t need any more writers, or painters, or photographers, there are already plenty, and more than enough.
Ted Forbes sums it up clearly in his video, ‘Nobody cares about your photography’’.
While I was listening to him, I shivered.
I felt like my whole world had fallen apart, all my hopes and dreams had gone.
But he is right. He went on to say that the world needs work that matters, work that has a meaning, and begs us not to keep it simple, to push ourselves further, beyond our limits, beyond what is obvious – I am paraphrasing.
I finally got what he meant and felt better. Everybody can write, or take a picture, however, there is a difference between doing things for your own sake and doing it with the intention to inspire and leave your mark on this world.
There will always be somebody or many somebodies who won’t agree with you and find your work useless, this is inevitable, but if you do your homework, if you research, if you reach out to the stars and expand your knowledge, you will eventually be able to create work that matters and find an audience who will benefit from your work and enjoy it, regardless of whether there are 5, 5,000 or 500,000 people.
As a matter of fact, I thought my initial enthusiasm was due to the possibility of writing whatever came to mind.
Being my own space, I could write whatever I wanted and if nobody read it, I wasn’t going to care.
Then I realized that I did care.
Now, when I travel, it is not with the same spirit as before.
Now, I travel to find out, explore and learn; something I had always done, but I have now started to do with an added sense of responsibility towards my readers and with the investigating eye of a journalist or an explorer.
I strive to get more information and try to ensure that it is as accurate as possible because I know somebody will be benefitting from it.
At least, I hope so…
It is true, there is a lot of us out there already; a huge variety of travel bloggers, some exceptional some not quite as good.
I am what I am, and as long as I stay authentic and strive to give it my best, I should keep going just like anyone in search of pursuing his now dream or finding her own self…
The common refrains nowadays are ‘’follow your passions’’, “be happy”, “freedom is everything”, and so forth.
I agree with all of them, even if it may sound cheesy and quite prosaic.
However, we can’t deny it’s our duty before our right. Understand where is our place on this earth and get there, be there!
Through all my reading I have come to the realization that the biggest monster that stops us from doing anything we want is fear, fear to fail or fear to succeed, fear of judgment, fear of feeling other emotions than what we are used to in our comfort zone.
All the other excuses are dictated by that stupid fear acting in disguise!! I don’t really like that.
I want to take full responsibility for my choices.
The blog has been quite cathartic I believe.
I am not saying that anyone should write a blog, or maybe I do, but that’s for another post.
What I do believe is that we all should dare step out of our own comfort zone and go for whatever is calling us that make us feel fulfilled and happy.
No matter if there are other thousands of people doing the same thing.
No matter how old we are.
No matter how long it takes to reach the results we want, time will go by anyway.
Yes, that’s another brutal truth, I am sorry, time will still pass.
But if we stay focused on our goals and on the motivations that push us to do what we are doing and we invest time and energy in that, probably we won’t become the next Zuckerberg, or Hemingway or Mozart, but be sure we will get our satisfaction.
As opposite to all the famous researchers and influencers that I admire and from which I learned so much, I haven’t reached the “illumination” yet, but as a relentless student, I believe knowledge is useless if not shared.
I was so enthusiastic about my readings and their teaching that I am thrilled to share them with you. What’s the point of reading good stuff if I keep it all for myself?
I do hope this bibliography will be a good source of inspiration or just a good reading for you too.
Steven Pressfield – The War of Art
Steven Pressfield – Nobody wants to read your shit
Brene’ Brown – The Power of Vulnerability
Brene’ Brown – Raising strong
Ed Catmull – Creativity, Inc
And last but not least.. this is the reason why I wrote this article.
As for me, I still switch between excitement and anguish, but instead of fighting the negative feelings and using them as an excuse to procrastinate, I let them in because those are the propellers that push me beyond the limits, help me to do the work and reach for the stars.
Updated on August 26th
- Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday
- The obstacle is the way by Ryan Holiday
- The subtle art of not giving a F**k by Mark Manson
- The four agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz