I have often said that I would shrivel up and die, if I was not able to conduct workshops and take up speaking assignments. In the past year this medium has almost come to an end for me. I am thankful that I have neither shrivelled up nor have I died (physically or otherwise), for I just found another medium to say what I had to say.
This month — August 2021 makes a year since I started writing blogs. What better way to celebrate than to write, a blog on “Growing Me with Blogs”
In my very first blog, I had said that I started writing during the lockdown in 2020 for two reasons. I do not know the context in which Charlotte Bronte said, ‘A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow’, but it touched a chord, for that was exactly what I was going through and therefore took to writing firstly, as an outlet for restless feelings and frustrations, and secondly, to stay relevant. So yes, I wrote for myself. The early ones were light hearted and in a subtle way made fun of myself. Many of them have not seen the light of day and are tucked away in a folder as ‘Blog ideas’ and will most probably remain there as they have served their purpose.
Gradually, and without my even realizing it, the tone, the tenor and content took on a more serious note with something for me to ponder on, think, reflect and grow with. The blogs were also reaching others in ways that I had not even imagined.
Sorry, I have fast forwarded — let me rewind and answer a few questions –
Has it been easy to write the blogs?
Strangely, I think they were quite easy in the beginning, remember, I was writing for myself. And then when they came into the public domain, it was not easy anymore. I would go through a number of drafts and in the process often mixed up the pages and sometimes tore up the wrong ones. So then I took to numbering them as 1, then 1 New and then, 1 New New and when it all gets too much, I number in colour. I still write on paper with sharpened pencils on standby and go through erasers. No, I don’t eat them but I erase them out. I am getting the hang of it and the number of drafts has come down.
Wait! The job is not yet done.
Initially the type written pages were typed into the computer by M who helps us with office work. I took it on during the lockdown. I have now developed speed and learnt some formatting. Growth!
After all that hard work, I have been told that I appear to write effortlessly. I have discovered that when I am trying to be intellectual, contrived, and living up to some assumed expectations, it is really hard. Thankfully that happens in the first couple of drafts. And then I tell myself to write what I believe in, in my words, in the way I think and feel and from the heart and then it is no longer an effort — the words and the pencil flow to seem like ‘a happy accident’ in the words of W Somerset Maugham.
I have had to face my fears. How will the blog be accepted? What are the ‘stats’? Excited when the Views and Reads are high, analytical when the Views and Reads are not up to my expectations. Why has s/he not responded? Should I remind him / her to read it? Was there an important event on the day the blog was posted that got more attention?
I have now learnt not to be greedy for Views and Reads and instantaneous feedback. I am confident about what I am doing. However, I need to be inspired and feel strongly about a theme. Over this year, I have become observant and intuitive about what is happening around me. Inspiration is all around — people, nature, a book, a quote, a movie, conversations…. I have friends who suggest topics. What is amazing about the suggestions is the belief that I can turn something mundane into an inspiring and thought provoking article. When I wrote on ‘hands’, there was a suggestion to write on ‘eyes’. Another idea was to write an article on ‘housewives’. I am grappling with that idea as I do not know what to call the ladies who are now working from home and managing the home too. On the 5th, a friend posted a picture to our college classmates group, of a tree trunk completely eaten by termites, yet putting forth new leaves. She also added a strong message. She then said, ‘Am sure Phyllis will find something powerful and inspiring to write about this’. Thanks for that note of confidence. All suggestions are in my ‘to write’ list. Thank you friends, keep them coming.
In this month of August and Independence Day, I have been thinking about freedom. Do I have the freedom to write what I want and how I want, for after all, it is my blog. From the feedback I have been receiving it has reinforced my belief that words can have a healing power and can also make people look within. Therefore with any ‘Freedom’ there comes ‘Responsibility’ — the responsibility to be sensitive to the feelings of others and yet be honest and write with integrity. I believe that is what is making the connect, and is reaching others in ways that I had not imagined. It urges people to write, to affirm and confirm, and sometimes share their pain and traumas. I have to confess that many a time, writing on a theme has been a form of catharsis for me as well.
I also feel proud that I have been able to sustain the writing and have not given up. 33 blogs in one year has not been a small feat for me.
And for this to happen, I have had mentors.
My greatest supporter and critic has been Romuald, my husband. He always calls a spade a spade and very often tells you the colour of the spade too.
Sandeep, my son, who took on the role of the ‘Manager’ of the blogs. I yet do not know what goes on behind the scenes — pre posting.
Deepika, my daughter-in-law, who does the pre-posting reading and approving.
Thank you, my family.
To all my readers, who not only read but take the trouble and time to write to me — Thank you, I have grown.
To all my unknown viewers and readers — I know you are there. The numbers speak. Thank you.
I have never said this aloud before –
Prayer has played a big role, — I mean conversations.
Prayer before writing
Prayer when blocked — and out of nowhere pops an answer or idea.
Prayer at the end.
Thank you, Lord.