Comparison is both the fuel and the death of creativity.
Knowing that, I read just a few other blogs. Not all of them are terrific but they all have something unique. Artwork, humor, insight, style. Comparing my blog to theirs and to others highlighted by Discover, a curated site operated by WordPress, helps me position myself in terms of other writers. How do I measure up?
But as in the rest of life – brains, looks, charm – the comparison game quickly sours. That’s when I know that if I persist, I’ll get depressed. And because much of my life is about mood management, I am loathe to continue down a road headed for a cliff with rocks and thorny cactus below. Self-preservation outweighs my attraction to the creativity of others. I have a pretty high opinion of myself but it needs constant protection. Too much information about the glory of others is not helpful.
I think this is a valuable tidbit for new bloggers. Manage your exposure to other bloggers for a while. This is another way of saying manage the intimidation you feel. Just write what you write and let things unfold. I talked about this yesterday. Be glad that no one reads your blog when you are starting out; there’s protection in being ignored. Revel in it for a while until you get your bearings.
So what do you write about when you’re starting out?
Write about the smallest big thing that happened to you today.
Be a laser beam.
Find the tiniest stitch.
Paint the untied shoe.
Love the one thing.
This is so hard for people who have been driven to writing a blog because they have a lot to say. But let me tell you this, don’t say all you have to say. First of all, you won’t do your experience justice in one blog post. Secondly, you can’t convey true heart with too big a picture. Third, the tiny and beautiful draws people to you.
It takes discipline to find the smallest big thing. And the discipline has to do with not thinking about what other people will think is the smallest big thing.
It has to be entirely yours.
I will tell you about the smallest big thing that happened to me once. It was the day this picture was taken.
This was the moment that one of my grandsons took a shell from the hand of a stranger at the coffee shop. I wrote about that moment and what I thought it meant. I’m not saying this is the world’s greatest blog post. It’s just an example of zeroing in on a moment in time. And then realizing what the moment told me: my daughter, these boys’ mother, is raising them to be happy and friendly. I loved that about her and about this moment in time and so that’s what I wrote about.
So that’s what I encourage people who are just starting out to do: write about the smallest big thing. Make it your precious moment. Unique and glowing.
And then share it.