For such a long time I’ve talked about authenticity. Now the word is becoming more and more like jargon. And every time I hear it, or discuss it on Twitter with others, I’m feeling an accusing finger pointing my way. That nagging sense many don’t think I’m authentic. And in my own mind, my greatest […]
Over the years I’ve been asked by many people what my answer is to writers block, or feeling dry creatively, or when you’re stuck as a writer.
Because we’ve all been there haven’t we? Sitting at home with literally nothing to say, no motivation to write, feeling totally empty and dry, like we’ll never write another word ever again.
Well the best way to answer this question is share my own story.
I’ve struggled with this more than once in my life. And there were two things I did each time to free myself from the shackles of writers block.
I’ve been blogging for a long time. And in recent years, as I’ve become more professional in my approach, I’ve learned important principles which can helping grow a blog, from some wise, experienced and successful writers.
Some of the key principles they advocated, outside great content, was professional design, and ‘building a platform’.
I won’t lie, these ideas are good in principle There’s nothing inherently wrong with having a great design and wanting to grow a blog. In their place, these concepts are really useful.
But for me, it has seemed at times great design and platform building, essentially a focus outside of the content (ie: aesthetics), had become the point.
And I kept finding myself asking:
“When did aesthetics become more important than our art?”
I don’t know about you, but I’ve lost count of the number of websites, blog posts, tweets and links which talk about how someone grew their following to an enormous size very quickly.
Websites which show you how to ‘guarantee’ you’ll be a success, to ‘maximise the income’ from your blog, and ‘grow your fanbase’. And many of them are happy to sell you their ‘guaranteed’ path to success and wealth.
You know the ones I mean, right?
Now I’ve got nothing against people making money from their work. One day I hope and expect to do it myself. Work costs time, energy, and sometimes money to produce, and making money from it, with integrity, isn’t wrong.
But I’d rather read more posts about how to discover my true identity, become a better, more authentic writer, and be true to the person I was born to be.
Last year I took three months off from public blogging. Back then, my attitude, my motivation, my focus was all way off. Ambition was consuming me, an obsession with stats and success. Today I’m considering taking another break from public blogging. But this time, my motivation is very different. In my last post I mentioned […]
A while back I was ill with a really bad case of flu (and for the record, it was real flu, not man flu). It tied me to my bed for a few days. It was the kind of ill where your mind drifts and you can hardly speak or think straight.
I barely had the strength to stand up and get dressed, yet alone to reflect on anything and write it down.
But with regards to my writing, it was more like a great excuse. Because in truth, I’d been battling writers block for a while. What this period of illness did was give me an excuse not to even fight anymore.
I’d done my standard tactic of sitting down and simply waiting for something to come out. Waiting to see what was inside. It usually works. But I seemed to have lost the motivation and energy to even try that.
So what was wrong? And what else could I do?
So today I’m exploring more about authenticity. I imagine some of you are already asking ‘Another post about authenticity? Really?’.
Stick with me. There’s a reason I’m using this word.
Which brings me to time.
Time is a powerful thing. We can’t resist it’s power, no matter how much we try. It claims all of us eventually. But time is invariably wise too. It has much to teach us.
In my case, the years have taught me much about the meaning and importance of authenticity.
Truth. In life and work.
As many of you know, the ‘issue’ of sexuality/gender preference and faith is one I am passionate about. I recently ran a series on my blog about LGBT issues and faith, sharing my own story and the story of members of the LGBT community, in order to engage in healthy conversation about this issue, rather than heated debate – which ultimately, leads nowhere.
It’s an ongoing discussion for me, and it’s work I will continue with – both in my writing and in work in my local community.
And, for me, this is not simply about LGBT community – it’s about the kind of church we want to have.
I was recently invited to a conference held at Oasis Waterloo, over two days, called ‘Open Church’. The conference was about the discussion around Christianity and LGBT issues, and building a more welcoming, open church.