In my last post, I talked about discovering my blogging voice. To help me do this, I am going through my journey of discovering my journaling voice after having taken a break from it for over eight years. And so I have decided to go through my journal entries and even post some of them on here. (I know, what can go wrong, right? …RIGHT!?!?)
In doing this, I stumbled upon an interesting entry that reminded me that this process of discovering and establishing a blogging voice will not be a straight line.
Here’s the context: When I started journaling again, it was very hard, so I made it a goal to just write whatever I could every day. After two weeks, my entries started looking less like lists and more like underdeveloped and poorly constructed thoughts. Still progress. After a month, there were coherent thoughts. Then, there was a gap in the dates of the entries.
This was the next entry:
I have not journaled in several days for several reasons: I was too tired or too busy to write, and I had nothing to say that I felt was constructive or that would turn into anything. I forgot the point of journaling is to reveal what is there on the page, and instead I was focusing on what to write about before getting to the blank page, so I never got there. I also worked a lot.
In the above entry, I reveal that even though I had been going strong for a month, all of the sudden, I stopped. Even though, I had a rhythm developing, and I was just writing, I stopped. Even though I knew what to do (freewrite), I all of the sudden thought I had to do it a different way (plan out what to write and then write it).
It looks confusing at first, like, “Why did that happen? Where did that random switch to a new method come from?” But more than likely, I had been trying little different techniques along the way without realizing it because they still got words on the page. Then, as my brain tried out techniques, one popped up that did not produce words on the page.
From the entry, I can tell that the lack of writing was discouraging, like, “Maybe I can’t do this.” But that’s not true. That’s just how problem solving works.
I thought I would keep writing and writing and get better and better, but that’s just not how it works. You may plan for a linear progression, but that’s just not how it works.
That graph up there ^ may be the expectation, but that’s not how learning occurs. It’s the general trend; it’s the overall progression; but it’s not how the trendline is formed.
There are ups and downs, but the long term goal is to be going upwards and getting better. The trendline is based on averages of actual data points.
I see it kind of like being in a maze, where you don’t have a map, so you have to try different turns and hit some dead ends to find the path to the goal. For example, Figure 3 shows an awesome garden maze that I found from Tom Fisk on Pexels.com. For Person A, the path looks easy and obvious: It’s a straight path. For Person B, the path looks super discouraging: It’s a wall.
But you can see that for any given part of the maze where there’s a wall, it doesn’t necessarily mean failure or that it’s over; it just means you can’t go there and have to turn.
So, I guess what I have learned in this portion of the search is to not be discouraged when (yes, WHEN) I hit a wall or when there is a dip in the linear progression because that is just part of the process.
Imagine you are traveling along the graph, like the people in the maze pictured above, but instead of traveling along a garden maze designed by someone else, you are forming the line that connects the data points in the graph of your own story of progress.
The line doesn’t know which way is “up” as it moves along the graph from point to point. It has to find it. Look at the line and imagine that is you, making the line. You don’t know which way is up or what that looks like while you’re forming your own path any more than the line on the graph does. “Up” could be anywhere; you have to find it by finding out that down is not the correct direction, just like you have to find the right path in the maze by finding the walls.
This post also reminds me that there will be walls and discouraging results. But they’re just part of the search. They are part of the journey and part of the path that is being formed. They are proof that you are growing and learning where limits are and learning where the downward direction is that you do not want to go and where the upward direction is that you need to get to. So go. Continue on. Continue to search. Turn and keep moving and find the next wall that defines your path.
(for those wondering what happened after this, my entries went back to being lists, partially because I was so busy, but at least I was writing and practicing, and eventually they became thoughts again)