I’ve spoken with so many business owners who confess to starting a blog, or beginning to dabble on social media but to then end up leaving it days, then weeks, then months—and even years—between posts.
Why is this? They have something to say. They have passion and opinions and heart to share, so why does blog day roll around again…and nothing comes out?
I know one reason—and it’s this: Blogging—or any kind of writing—says: I’m worth listening to. I’m worth your time. I’m allowed to take up the space on this page: the space on this screen.
And as simple as it sounds, that’s a hard affirmation for many of us.
At school, we would put up our hand when we wanted to speak. Our teacher would scan the room and perhaps choose us; he’d give us the floor, permit us to speak, and then approve or disapprove of what we said.
If we wanted to speak again, we had to put up our hand again. If we kept saying things that were distracting or off-topic, our teacher might have started to ignore our hand, passing over to others who hadn’t yet spoken, or had less controversial, more easily digestible things to say.
We asked. We sought permission. We were given permission—or denied it.
Even when permission was given, it was for a certain period of time – there were lots of other people in the classroom, after all. We may have been censored or our time curtailed.
There are no such conditions now. There is nobody to ask, no authority figure to grant us permission. We live in an age where we can create our own writing platforms. There’s nobody who allocates space and tells us when it’s our turn. We can take as many turns as we like, for as long we like, and we can choose to be as boring, controversial, distracting or off-topic as we like.
With nobody scanning the room, looking for our raised hand and with nobody handing out permission slips: what do we do?
Option one: We leave our hand up there until our arm aches. We get resentful:
“Nobody’s seeing me, nobody’s picking me, and nobody’s granting me space.”
Option two: We get empowered. We write our own permission slip, discovering it’s within us and we can give it to ourselves. We write it with, and into, our writing hands. We affirm: I am worth listening to. I have something to say. I have an opinion and experiences that are worth sharing. It’s okay to take up time and space.
This affirmative confidence comes from the inside out. As a teacher, I watched highly established teachers who’d walk into a rowdy classroom and immediately the room would fall silent; the students responded to that absolute certainty of space that the teacher, in her authority, demanded. She expected that the room would fall silent and give her their full attention.
In contrast, I watched the trainee teachers, utterly baffled as to how to shut up a room of boisterous teenagers; their panic would rise, they’d shout over the students, get angrier and angrier. They didn’t yet know that they could demand attention from the inside out, by believing that they had something important to say and knowing that they were entitled to space, time and attention.
Nobody will tell others to shut up so that we can be heard; we need to own the space so that the room—our reader—falls silent. Nobody will shine a light on us; we must shine a light on ourselves. This is selfless; it’s an act of generosity to share our gifts freely.
And remember: the spotlight is not for you; it’s for the wisdom that comes through you. Before I place fingers on keyboard to write my next blog, while I sit quietly with eyes closed before giving a talk or teaching a class, I repeat the same mantra: Speak through me. Let me get myself out of the way so that what is needed by my readers, my audience, my students can come through me to serve them.
Commit to sharing your writing online in this way. Not by you but through you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Assistant Editor: Jen Weddle/ Editor: Jenna Penielle Lyons
Photo: Javier A. Bedrina / Pixoto