Does it Matter?

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Even chipmunks contemplate.

I spent some time catching up with a good friend this week, who is starting a new adventure in her life.  She told me that she was considering starting a blog to document this new chapter, but wasn’t sure if she should.  This conversation got me thinking about how people seem to gravitate towards starting blogs primarily when they are doing some new, exciting, different or temporary thing with their lives.

When friends in college studied abroad, they documented their time in blogs.  When Facebook friends moved to another part of the country—or another country entirely—they blogged about their “new life”.  Even in considering writing this blog post, I wondered if anything I might have to say might be “novel” or “new”.  What it is about people that make us think that documenting our lives is only an option if we are doing something out of the norm?

In thinking further about my conversation with my friend, I thought about how it has been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog.  There seems to be a constant battle that I fight with myself about whether or not what I have to say is worth posting online.  Not because I don’t feel confident in my thoughts, but I question if others want to read what I have to say.

I lost my job back in December, and have been searching rather unsuccessfully for a full-time, fulfilling job since I graduated college back in May.  I was offered another retail job that I wasn’t very excited about around Christmas time, and didn’t start training until last week.  Then, this week I was offered another retail job with better pay and a nicer work environment.  THEN I was told that the internship site I’ve been working at since October is going to seek additional funding to pay me for the work I do!

Here I am, a TERRIBLE decision maker, faced with the choice between two jobs that I don’t love the idea of (but prefer one over the other), and the possibility of part-time employment at the nonprofit I intern with and love.  Plus I had a first round phone interview with another nonprofit earlier this week.  How is that for almost a year I have had no employment options, and now I have multiple options?  For some, this may not be something that is of any interest.  But to me this is a huge deal.

I debated using my blog as a place to talk about these decisions I have to make now; like I said, to me these choices are a big deal, even if I’m not going to another country or starting some grand new adventure.  If something matters to you though, don’t discount its relevance or worth based on what you think others want to hear.  So, like I encouraged my friend to do, blog about what’s going on in your life, even if you don’t think everyone will find it interesting.  While it’s true that not everyone might not find what you have to say relatable; at the end of the day or end of each “chapter” of your life, believe enough in yourself to talk about what matters to you.

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Slave to the Muse

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All week I’ve been trying to come up with a topic for this week’s post.  I had a few ideas, but nothing that I felt like I really wanted to write about.  So, I figure it’s appropriate to write about one of the struggles for writers, or people who want to write regularly.  That struggle is feeling like we always have to write something “good”, or have to feel inspired to be able to write.  When an idea for a topic pops into my head I feel like I have to write it down immediately or else it will be lost forever.  Of course this usually happens when I’m trying to fall asleep.

I can’t remember the quote exactly, but one of my professors referred to the struggle to feel inspired as being “a slave to the muse”.  In Greek mythology muses were the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (means memory) and were said to inspire poets, philosophers, artists, musicians—you know, the creative types.  The idea that writers have been slaves to their muses that inspire creativity has been around for centuries; writers are the mortal funnels for the spiritual muses to send ideas to.

There are so many factors that seem to have to all come together exactly at the right time and in the exact right way for those of us who feel we have to be inspired to write.  I find excuses all the time.  Maybe I’ll have some ideas in the evening and say “Oh, I’ll have plenty to write about in the morning!”  Of course the morning comes and I’m not a morning person (something I seemed to conveniently forget the day before).  I’ll sit down and only be able to think about how tired I am, or how I haven’t had coffee yet, or about the other ten things I have to do today.  So, the writing doesn’t happen that morning.

Some writers feel like if they force themselves to write every day they will have to come up with something they can at least be satisfied with.  I can appreciate the dedication that accompanies this mindset.  If this works for you, I commend you.  I think I would get too frustrated with myself because I wouldn’t have “good” ideas on a daily basis.  My primary struggle with writing regularly is overcoming the feeling that my ideas have to be perfectly formed before I can let someone else read them.  I don’t want someone to see what I’ve written and say “That’s wrong.”  But, I’ve eventually realized that there is no way for everyone to agree with me, no matter how much time and effort I put into trying to make everyone happy.

Inevitably there will be readers who never agree with you and never like what you have to say.  That’s just a fact of life.  So, we can learn as much as we can from the criticism we receive, but we have to realize that sometimes the driving force behind criticism is simply to make us unhappy.  When that’s the case we just have to move on and not let those negative comments drag us down.  If you are happy with your work and what you do, then that is what’s most important.