I was talking to my friend yesterday, and she said she felt like she was lacking purpose because she didn't have a project that was bringing her fulfillment. She feels like she is jumping through hoops for people and that she's not doing things that make her happy. I suggested she make a blog about food, about eating healthy and trying new recipes and making things from scratch, because she really likes making things and especially seems to enjoy when she gives them to other people. I said she could take pictures of what she makes and document it like art- buy a nice cookbook and arrange the food beautifully and then photograph it. Then she would have a product she could see every step of the way as well as an ultimate vision, and would have something to reflect on when the pressures of grad school and law school and life get to be too much. If she gets external reinforcement for it that's even better. She said that was a great idea and she would do it; try out the idea and get really into it and explore it.
I was thinking that in some ways that's what my blogs do for me. I write and document what I'm thinking and inspired by and reading about every step of the way, and then I have the assurance it won't be forgotten. Even when I feel like I am not accomplishing what I need to by other people's standards, I still have something that meets my standards. Then I can look at the world around me and beautify it, and at the times when I am not seeing the beauty, I will have documentation that I did see it at one time. Then I can look through what I have created and see my own rendering of the world again and be reminded. I can create my own world and then live in it.
The trouble is though, that by nature of having a blog on the internet it is available to other people. And there is the fact that I have gotten negative feedback and criticism from people who I didn't even know would take the time to read what I wrote. In a way it's good, because if you want to write you can't be so sensitive, but I wonder if people realize that hearing negative feedback about writing is much more cutting than receiving negative feedback about almost anything else. I tell myself that if I succumb to what people think or the criticisms that people have, I will dilute what I am trying to do to make it amenable to what everyone can accept. And what most people have come to accept without objection is mediocrity. If I go into it with the idea of producing something that doesn't offend anybody but will undoubtedly be mediocre, what's the point of doing it at all?
I wonder if I would be able to write a book, and then I would be able to insulate my ideas and allow my conviction in them to take hold before I present it to other people to critique. Then it would be less like writing in a room full of mirrors and more like writing in a cave. I think that would help, but probably make the sting more powerful when the unavoidable disparagement is voiced. I think many professional writers would tell me not to enter this business if I have a tendency to be offended.
The doubt remains though, and I can fail a test or do poorly in work, but I can maintain the sense that it was just a bad day or experience that is not reflective of me. With writing, what I am writing is myself. If someone tells me it's pointless or frightening or whatever, it's like they're saying those things about me. I can distance myself from most things out of a sense of self-preservation, but not from writing, because I do not write maintaining a sense of self-preservation, and I can't deny that what I write is part of me.