I mentioned in a post quite a while ago about how I gleaned some amazing advice from a male journalist/podcaster in the past. Specifically, it was about the beginning of his career in blogging, and realizing that 90% of what he wrote in the beginning was complete garbage. And he published those pieces anyway. This statement felt like it was meant precisely as advice to me. After a lifetime of perfectionism, I needed to hear that I could still be successful (eventually) even if I put work out that was not the best I could produce. Sometimes, what you can publish is the best you could produce, based on your capacity at the time.
Now, I have heard another little nugget of wisdom that really hit me in the same way… when writing a blog or other serial project, don’t worry about repeating yourself. The best ideas, the ones that call loudly to you, the ones that visit you over and over can be written about over and over. You may bring a new perspective to the thought or idea with a different time or context. And while you may remember that you spoke about the issue before, you may be gaining new readers and followers at any time and they are unlikely to dig into your entire historical catalog. In fact you would be lucky if a new convert to your writing checks or anything beyond your latest post and maybe your About page. And besides, even if they do, most people need to hear/read things multiple times in order to truly get it. When you look at it that way, repetition is almost an imperative.
Again, this is totally freeing. Given how I write, very off-the-cuff, almost improvisational, I am very likely to repeat myself, which has been a moderate concern of mine over the last year. Now I understand, from a career editorial writer, that essayists repeat themselves all the time. Nobody is ever going to “call” you on it. They probably won’t even unsubscribe or comment negatively or anything. I imagine had I known these two things earlier in my life, I might’ve written a lot more over the course of my adulthood. Who knows?
Anyway, I’m sharing this with you all just in case you have been waiting for permission to express yourself artistically in whatever way speaks to you. The fears you have in your head are just that, in your head. You do not need to hold it all in because you feel it won’t be good enough or you are too focused on one thing. That one thing could turn into your life’s work. So with that, you have my explicit permission to shut off the voices in your head and just do it.
I’ll allow it!