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Writing with the Wrong Hand

Yesterday I wrote about why I started this blog. Today I wanted to say something about why I didn’t blog earlier. I’ve been writing for...

Yesterday I wrote about why I started this blog.

Today I wanted to say something about why I didn’t blog earlier. I’ve been writing for quite some time now, and I’ve published a decent amount in reasonably high profile places. So why wasn’t I blogging?

Part of it was that starting a blog seemed like a monumental undertaking, and I was doing other things. It also seemed like everyone and their cousin was doing it, so why even bother? I read somewhere that some 120,000 new blogs are launched every day. In a word: buzzkill.

But I think a lot of my hesitation was that for the longest time, I was hung up by what I’d call a legitimacy constraint. Sure, I was a writer. And sure, I was doing OK. But I wasn’t super famous. Or even non-super famous. I was just…me. So how could I dare even presume to write a blog?

Which was ironic, of course, because the whole thing about blogging is that it lets people invent themselves. In becoming, “The Blogger, Delia Lloyd,” you acquire a new identity over night (Ok, perhaps not overnight, if my own technorati stats are telling me anything…but I digress). But somehow it took me a long time to recognize that I could actually create a persona for myself on the internet, rather than wait for the “Writer” identity to emerge, Zeus-like, fully formed, before I started blogging.

I also used to be an academic. This means I tend to analyze things a great deal before I take the plunge. And so when I started reading other people’s blogs and saw all those bells and whistles like Flickr images and trackbacks and RSS feeds and and and… I thought: Do I really have to master all of those before I start blogging? Forget it!

And then I read this¬† terrific post by Brazen Careerist blogger Penelope Trunk where she talks about The Easiest Instructions for Starting a Blog. And I realized: I don’t need to worry about any of this. I don’t need to be famous. And I don’t need to know everything. All I need is a passion to write, a topic I’m excited about, and a lot of determination. Done.

Which brings us to adulthood. A lot of adulthood is about, to paraphrase Nike, “just doing it.”¬† Taking risks. Enjoying the Fun of Failure as happiness blogger Gretchen Rubin says.

The metaphor I like to work with is “Writing with the Wrong Hand.” By which I mean, the importance of doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable every once in awhile. It could be wearing low waisted jeans, or experimenting with on-line dating, or daring to…zeut alors!…actually speak French in France.

Whatever. The important thing is to plunge in. And to see where it goes.

Now if I only I knew how to find a Flickr image to match this title….

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