“Mom…how early is too early to go outside?” As I slowly started to wake up, sipping my coffee and enjoying looking out at the sunshine, the eight-year-old voice of my daughter Sophia interrupted the quiet morning… I blinked a few times and dozily answered “There’s no ‘too early.’” “Great!” she exclaimed. “I’m going out now!” I quickly sat forward, “Wait…” I stammered. “We haven’t even planned the day. There’s been no breakfast. You only have one ponytail in so far and your socks don’t match. We should slow down and figure out what has to be done first.” She stared right at me, pleading with the eyes that you know can melt a mother’s heart. “But, Mom, it is summer NOW,” she implored “we should just get out there!”
As a woman who mumbles curse words under her breath all
eight months of Minnesota winter, I had to admit, she had me. It was summer “now.” No amount of planning would make that sunny morning last any longer. Having mismatched socks and a single ponytail was not going to diminish her joy in reveling in the sunshine. And if I were honest with myself, in my heart of hearts I wanted to get out there as well! Taking time to get everything perfect for the day might at best delay our adventure, and at worst, have us looking back at the morning we did NOT get outside because we were too busy with the details.
If you want to keep your memories, you first have to live them. ~ Bob Dylan
I grabbed my camera and followed her outside.
Almost before the lens cap was off she had a giant bottle of bubbles open and she began blowing. Correction. She began dancing and blowing. She skipped and twirled and giggled. I can guarantee she didn’t give her socks or hair a second thought. She quickly flitted about the yard, with no fear of falling as she sprinkled her bubble joy around for all to see!
Then it hit me. I wanted to live more like my daughter and less like the “let’s-make-sure-everything-is-perfect-before-we-move-forward” person I have been. While this applied to many areas of my life, on that morning, it reminded me of my blog…more specifically, of the blogging course I had just taken through CreativeLive. This three-day (gasp! yes three days!) workshop was led by the delightful and always helpful April Bowles of Blacksburg Belle.
Build a Successful Creative Blog had me mesmerized from the first moments of the first day! April provided all kinds of practical advice, including how to secure a domain, set up a site, add plugins and promote posts. But on that particular summery morning, with bubbles still resting delicately on the blades of grass, it was the more subtle inspiration of the workshop that suddenly made my heart flutter!
For over two years I had been “just about” to publish a new website and blog. I was so eager to make the LEAP — but so afraid of FALLING — that I tried to plan my way out of every possible mistake that might be made if I were to publish. I was up late trying to figure out how to get the colors and fonts right. Hours were wasted worrying what would happen if the sidebars didn’t show up correctly. I was always busy scouring the internet for the best plug-ins and learning how to use widgets. But perhaps the worst thing I feared about publishing my blog — how would I present myself so that I would seem as polished and professional and endearing as all those other ahhhh-mazing bloggers out there? With all this planning under my belt, did I ever hit “publish?” No. That is, until today. Today I will publish. Today, I will LEAP, and it will not be perfect. It will be me.
What was it that April shared that got me to click the publish button? Here are some of the highlights:
If you’re not truly you, what’s the point? (Click to Tweet)
Be authentic, vulnerable and real and you’ll attract your ideal readers.
Your audience can tell when you’re being phony. (Ouch! I think I was originally planning on presenting a phony me without realizing it!)
You are supposed to struggle. The perfect photos, words and readers don’t appear all at once.
Stories are key. She explained that we learn via story, we remember stories and we share stories. And my professional life is about designing and sharing other people’s stories. It was time I practiced what I preach!
April’s friend and partner, Mayi Carles, stressed that “When you don’t show up in the world (e.g. when you don’t hit publish) you not only hurt yourself but you hurt others.”
April quoted Steve Jobs who said, “Remembering you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
Pause. Deep breath. Publish. (Phew!)
I may not be naked…but if I have in only one ponytail and my socks don’t match, well heck, I’m gonna go blow some bubbles! Will you join me?
This post is a part of the “What #BelleLive Taught Me” blog tour. This tour was conceptualized by a group of the chatroom participants, and since then took on a life of it’s own. In order to continue your journey, please be sure you have visited Lynn Cobine’s blog Narrative Publishers (which came before my blog on the tour) and you can continue your journey to the next stop at the blog of Rebecca Nash at Rebecca Nash Photography. or for a full list of participants please visit http://jocavagnis.com/blogging/its-all-about-you/ Thank you and enjoy!
The quote in the closing graphic is by 18 year old Erin Hanson of The Poetic Underground and you can find her work HERE.