The art of letting people in

In a previous life, I had a secret baking blog on WordPress. It was called Thoughts and Cakes.  I was young and full of hope of making a life selling cakes and used books. There were silly posts like ‘how to make Mascerpone cheese in an Indian kitchen’ and recipes for Armenian Nazook (I no longer remember what that is) and Nutmeg cake. The blog was doing okay, then after about three years of lurking around I shared it on my social media. People could not’ve been kinder, they said incredibly kind things and shared it with their friends and family and the blog grew overnight. There was only one problem, I simply couldn’t write anymore.

This is what happened. I couldn’t believe the nice things people told me, I was convinced that I was getting away with something and if that blog had continued to live people were going to  figure out that I was a fraud and a fake. So I left it at that point where the people still liked me. Maybe that is a feeling all of us have at some point in our lives to varying degrees.

That was about five years ago, a lot of things have changed in this time, now I have the luxury of walking into a grocery store and buying a tub of Mascerpone but I no longer bake, my beloved camera died and I am much more cynical but it turns out the imposter syndrome still remains the same.

The last few posts have been the ones most close to my heart but it seems like the more honest I get with my writing the lesser and lesser engagement the posts get. Some of you have openly expressed your dislike about the last posts and I am incredibly grateful for that, that is exactly how it should be.  I don’t want you to have my back no matter what. But there is also that part of me that wants to be liked and keep all of you around.

The solution in this case of course was starting another blog and another secret internet life which I have been doing since Feb but that is also going to have the same fate, its just a matter of time. So here I am trying to keep this going. Trying to get a thicker skin and trying to believe there would be a few people around even when I let the guard down. Let’s see how far it goes.

Love,

Jo

PS: Some people who are reading this blog are absolutely not allowed to hate me, you know who you are!

Shall we send holiday cards to each other?

I get homesick only once per year and that happens to be during Christmas holidays. All of my close friends fly back home around the 23rd, so we usually have our traditional dinner on 22nd and on Christmas eve I am alone. Last four years I had been too broke to take a trip to India, also, Munich looks like a winter wonderland in December, with all the Christmas decorations, fairy lights, Christkindlmarkts, and warm Glüwein the city never looks more magical, but still it is not easy to not feel lonely when the city looks so dead on Christmas day.

christmas

When I started blogging in July I did not count on getting to know anyone, but I am so thankful to have come across all of you, wonderful people. It also appears that a lot of us follow each other as well. So how about we send a Christmas card to one of the fellow bloggers? I cannot think of a reason why someone would not like receiving an actual physical card by mail.

Here is my idea, if you would like to participate in this, let me know in the comments section or send me an email to jothetumbleweed@gmail.com. I will pair you up with other bloggers who are interested in exchanging card by snail mail. If there are not enough people who would want to do it, then you will get a card from me.

I am waiting to hear what you all think.

Hugs,

Jo

Thoughts I have after hitting the publish button

One sec before posting

It feels nice to finish writing another post. I kicked writer’s block in the butt. Good job

Hit publish

Refresh

That dreaded internet black silence

Refresh

Why is nobody reading it?

Maybe everyone is sleeping

Maybe it wasn’t the right time to post

What was the name of that app that gives you the best time to publish articles?

Refresh

Let me read the post again

Oh my god! This is shit! Why did I ever think this was a good idea?

Refresh

Which is right, everyone ‘has’ or everyone ‘have’? I don’t even know English, what am I doing  on wordpress?

I think the app was timepress or blogpress or postpress?

Maybe I should delete the post?

Or not

stay strong

Don’t be afraid to show even the ugly parts of you

Refresh

Maybe I can change the title?

Did I share too much?

cb332810de45206d42cdbe0b3552e097.gif

No, I don’t care what the world think

Number of likes do not define me

Refresh

Who am I kidding? I want some likes

Refresh

I am not going to check the notifications for some time

0.99 milliseconds secs later

Refresh

still nobody

I hate the internet

I am never going to post ever again

1st like

You random person who just liked my post, I love you, I want to find you and hug you, you are the best

………

Refresh

 

 

Is there such a thing as a blogger’s block?

writers-block

Writer’s block, that I know, been there, have set up a tent and have spent whole summers there. But this is not that. I can write easily in my journal but I simply cannot write on this blog! Saturdays nights around 3am is when I make stupid life decisions, like painting my black hair purple or counting the number of followers on this blog. It is 150, in case you were wondering and that number has been haunting me since. Probably on this blogosphere, it is a minuscule non-number, but you must know I eat lunch alone in the storage unit of our office to avoid talking to a group of people and hence 150 seems like a big-ass number

I tried going to the core of the problem  because that is what I do now and came up with the following

  • When I started blogging under a made-up name I was trying to outsmart the ‘fear of rejection’. If no one knows me, it wouldn’t matter if my writing was good or bad, right? It was going very well in the beginning primarily because literally, no one was reading hence there was no way of receiving virtual rotten eggs back. Then people started liking and following and my writing changed quite a lot. I picked up some good habits, like proofreading and using Grammarly to correct errors but it also got me worried. Instead of writing what I wanted to write, I started writing what might get more likes and traffic and views. It was writing things only when I was sure of it being received well. It is like showing only photoshopped and touched up pictures of my life on social media.
  • Also, some of the readers started having names and faces and now I have people to disappoint in this virtual world. Would so and so like my post? made me hit delete on a lot of the drafts. Whenever a post did not receive any attention, I tried staring the notification button into blinking…BLINK DAMMIT BLINK.
  • This blog started as a place to chronicle my PhD journey one day at a time and now I write about anything but that. A lot of things interest me, sketching, books, fiction, feminism, and most importantly mental health. And sometimes it feels like the blog is getting too chaotic just like my head.
  • Whenever I come across a well-written post on some other blog, I want to come back and cover my blog with a tarpaulin so no one can see it.
  • Every time I publish a post I feel as if that was the very last post idea I would ever have, a fear of running out of ideas.
  • The feeling that I am faking all this. Imposter syndrome
  • And I sound like somebody else in writing

So the intense need to please  people and a fear of running out of ideas are giving me a severe blogger’s block.

Do you know the phrase, Dance like nobody is watching? A few years ago I used to dance with a group, we did shows in many German cities. The choreographer said to me after a show, “your moves are okay but you have to express more on your face and smile”. The mantra dance like nobody is watching worked well when dancing in front of a mirror but when people were watching me for real, it was hard imagining they weren’t there. So he gave me a piece of advice that seemed counterintuitive then, What if you imagine that people are watching you even when you rehearse alone and try to smile as well? So while rehearsing I started imagining an audience. It was terrifying at first, but doing it over and over made that situation less foreign when I went on stage.

So maybe that is all I need, sharing fake sounding pieces until I have the guts to sound like myself even when somebody else is reading.

Have you ever had a blogger’s block?

How do you deal with it?

Love

Jo