You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,
Love like you’ll never be hurt,
Sing like there’s nobody listening,
And live like it’s heaven on earth. – William W. Purkey
I am here at my desk, the cursor patiently blinking while I stare at the screen. Hey, now, after I typed a couple of words, it is a slightly less blank page in front of me. Scrolling through my website after almost three years of initial daily then once/twice -a -week-blogging I find it still amazing how much fun I have with it all. Sometimes, it takes me a while to get started even though I have the concept all laid out in my head. Even the most mangled piece of writing if less intimidating than the empty sheet, right? In these moments when I type, the possibilities are infinite, and that is scary. Writing for me is not easy. First of all, English is not my first language and even though I have a plethora of idea, it takes time to type it all out to make sense. Publishing my book was also a struggle and for some reason, I thought that writing would get easier over time. But it has not and this is what I really want to write about. What I want to say here is that I am not a great writer and I am fine writing or saying this.
Know that it is not out of self-deprecation that I suggest this. You may have come to this conclusion on your own already, in which case, I am glad we are on the same page. I am also not saying this out of a lack of positive affirmation, or a fake-it-til-you-make-it attitude. I got all this down. I am an overall positive person who feels incredibly blessed in so many ways.
My readers have to understand that when I started writing in English and in a formalized educational setting, I found it incredibly frustrating to craft sentences and paragraphs that properly reflected my feelings towards what I wanted to say in German but that needed to be translated in my head into English. Small inflections and emotions were completely lost on my attempt at a long-form written piece. It sort of almost always fell flat. I felt like my essays would miss an entire element of what I am actually trying to say (in German). I have known this all along, but what has me in a strange conundrum is that my book is selling like crazy after just two months of publication which makes me so happy. People love to read what I have to say, even if English is not my first language.
When I started blogging in 2015, I thought the idea was to write a lot, consistently improve my writing as time continued, and then success. I thought I would eventually get better at sharing ideas and thoughts while giving the reader an inside perspective on my experience, all while at the same time crafting beautifully languaged (sp? or did I just create a new word?) word art. Maybe I have gotten better at writing over the last two years or so, but what really ended up happening was that I started comparing my writing to other writers who I deeply respected. Following my blog for some time, you may know by now that I am an avid reader. What I came to view as great writing, was not what I had been doing. I was what they had been doing and continue to do. I do not consider myself to be a competitive person, however, I have continually tried to fit my writing style into what I thought good writing was supposed to be. Hypothetically sort of like, I am the “New Nora Ephron” in some way.
The funny thing is that some of my most popular posts came from a time when I could not have cared less about writing well at all but simply just had this idea to communicate ideas and tell stories without a concept. Initially and back when I did not think anyone was actually reading my writings I was the freest and perhaps that is what mattered most. That is the thing for me when I write. I want you (the reader) on this journey with me and somebody is reading all this, but at the same time, I want to write in a way that is still my speaking voice. I want to reach through this screen and hug your brain with my feelings, thoughts, learnings, and failures while really opening up in a way that should help all of us.
Whenever I am writing, I want to give you the real Daniela, not good-writer Daniela, but just, writer Daniela. So I think that is what this is now, a return to origins, perhaps, a more casual writing style, and more direct access to what I believe is the real me. Authenticity is scary as hell but it is the only way forward. I am authentic and I put myself on the line. Why is it scary? Because as a writer, I have to face the fact that my true self might not be enough to get the job done. That is a risk that I am willing to take though.
I have to keep in mind that expectations and competition can help, but it may be destructive, too. It is great to seek inspiration from those I admire, but I should never let it prevent myself from sharing my own perspective in a way that makes sense to me. The good thing is, everyone is different and that is what makes us great. Realizing all this is incredibly freeing. It releases me from the boundaries of my own expectations. Maybe this little essay encourages you to let go of what you may expect of yourself so you can simply be what you are. You may be surprised by the result. I am far from perfect, and most likely always will be – like everybody and everything.