I am a human being. Flawed. Flailing. Far from polished.
For the longest time, I’ve been trying to limit the number of personal posts I put on this blog. Things like word count updates, posts where I ramble about my various works in progress, or those posts where I talk about the baby or who knows what else that has nothing to do with writing. In other words, the posts where I let the cracks show and reveal I’m human.
Though I find that sometimes I just need to write them for reasons even I can’t fully explain, I’ve been trying to limit those posts and stick to more to article-type posts about craft. Why? To be professional. Because I imagine you hate those posts, you find them boring, you skip them. And maybe you do or don’t, I honestly have no idea either way because I’ve based this entire idea on an assumption.
But I was reading through the blog of an author I recently discovered and I was literally scanning through her old posts going, “Writing advice, don’t care. Blah blah blah book release. Character development, yawn.” The posts I stopped and read every single word of, the ones I realized I was actually scanning her entire blog to find? The most human ones. The freak-out where she flailed about getting her book done in time because she’d lost track of time. The one where she talked about that time her son went to the hospital. The post about her struggles with infertility, getting help for depression , caring for her ailing parent, the strain on her marriage.
When I realized what I was doing, it hit me that I do this all the time with nearly every author blog I read. Their “real” posts, the professional ones about craft and whatnot, are the ones I skim and only occasionally read. But the ones where they let their walls down and just show that they are a flailing spastic human just like me? Those are the ones I find the most helpful and read the most carefully. Because it helps me to understand this writing life as it really is, not the professional polished version we all think we need to pretend it is.
Knowing my favorite author didn’t just write this great book, she wrote it under poor circumstances doesn’t just change my perspective on the book, it changes how I view the craft. Because if they can still do it in the middle of all that chaos, if they still turn out such beautiful words when they’re in so much pain, if that long rant about how they’re the worst writer ever can turn into this amazing book in my hand, it makes this whole ridiculous craft make so much more sense to me.
It gives me a human connection to them that not only makes me continue to buy their books, it makes me like them as a person, human to human.It lets me forgive myself for my flaws and shortcomings and celebrate my own imperfections. It makes me feel like I am not alone in struggling sometimes. It makes me realize we’re all on the same crazy merry-go-round just trying to figure out how to survive and maybe enjoy the ride.
As you’ve probably noticed, I’ve taken this realization to heart. I’m not going to fear the personal posts anymore, the word count updates, the candid rant I write when I’m overtired and cranky with all my projects. Because who knows who else might be reading this the same way I read those other blogs looking desperately for that little flash of humanity that connects us. Who knows who might find unlikely inspiration in my demented ramblings?
And, really, what’s the point of pretending to be all professional and put together? It’s your quirks and flaws that make people like you and, when it comes to a blog, sometimes getting them to like you is the most powerful way of bringing them back in for more.