“Sing like there’s nobody listening”
This quote (variously attributed to Susanna Clark and Richard Leigh, William Purkey, Mark Twain and Satchel Paige) hangs on my friend’s kitchen wall. I love the sentiment behind it, of committing to a whole-hearted performance, uninhibited by fear of criticism or judgement. I also know that I find that far easier said than done. (I’m a classically trained singer, but even in the practice room, at times I’ve found it hard not to be singing to my inner critic.)
A year ago this week, I finally pressed publish on my first blog post here on yarnful.com. I’d been toying with the idea of writing a blog for a while. I loved the idea of having an expressive space online where I could write about things that inspire me (mainly yarns of all kinds, both textiles and tales), but although I bought a domain name and thought about it a lot, it remained just an idea.
That was until, as part of an online course on ideas generation, I had to carry out a project which took one idea and during the course of a week, turned it into something real. I mulled over whether this was the right time to start my blog and nearly didn’t do it.
Someone else on the course made a comment that helped me to take the plunge. They said (generally, not specifically to me) that, “Most new blogs aren’t read by anyone anyway!” Fears of public failure were put into perspective by the thought that my blog probably wouldn’t be seen anyway, so what on earth was I worrying about? I could “blog as if there’s nobody reading” and it would almost certainly be true (and risk-free). So I wrote my first post, spent an afternoon playing with paint and scraps of yarn and fabric to create the image at the top of this page (below is an unedited shot of what I got up to) and then I pressed that slightly terrifying “publish” button at the bottom of the screen…
And nothing happened, because nobody was reading what I’d written. But then I had to “hand in” my course homework online, and my fellow course-mates became my first readers. Their feedback was overwhelmingly constructive and I found that it was actually quite exciting that someone was reading my words.
So I kept at it, and I’ve published fairly regularly over the last 12 months. It’s definitely true that new blogs don’t get many readers at first, but gradually my number of “views” has increased and my confidence to share this blog has grown. It’s also been hugely encouraging to get feedback on posts, whether it’s from friends, strangers who have come across it by chance, or other knitters I have connected with in some way.
Singing as if there is no-one listening can provide a useful safety net, but the best performances happen when you are completely present with the audience and communicating your song to them. I think that blogging is much the same.
As I go into a second year of writing this blog, I’m hoping to build more connections and be braver about interacting with others. I also want to make more time to read and support other blogs by engaging more actively with the blogging community. So I am really excited to be taking part in A Playful Day’s Love Your Blog Challenge, which will be running throughout the month of April. A Playful Day is a blog that inspires me, and through a series of weekly blogging challenges, she’s hoping to inspire bloggers to “fall back in love” with their blog. This post is my interpretation of the first week’s challenge topic: interactions and community.
I hope that this will be a year when, instead of blogging like there’s nobody reading, I blog like my story is worth telling.