I receive quite a bit of emails asking me for advice on blogging. Here’s what I say, nearly every time:
Write something – anything – you are proud of. Bleed into it on a Saturday afternoon when the world offers much else but your heart denies anything but. Swim in the pencil shavings, dance in the Word doc. Leave parts of you as you work, fixed and frozen. Wedged.
Return next week to this place. Bring a crowbar and unwedge the parts you’ve left from days prior. Chip, chisel, discover new. Return again. Unearth the pieces of your work that you hate. This will be all of it on some days, so sigh deeply. Watch the leaves somersault outside the window as the weekend awakes and you work toward love.
It is inevitable that this process will produce something – anything – you are proud of. You will receive much from these days: a lesson, a technique, a “finished” product. Some of them will package nicely into success, or a marketable skill, or a plaque your mother will keep in her den to dust on Tuesday afternoon.
Other times, this process will produce something else entirely. You will receive something shapeless – a mission, a calling. Your oxygen.
Seek this. Return to this.
Bring your crowbar and dig. Submerge. Discover new pockets of breath underneath the surface. Adjust your mask. Dive in the deep; wade in the shallow. Explore the horizon. Look to the shore.
Notice someone waving, calling.
Go to them.
They won’t understand, not fully. Their oxygen source lies elsewhere; their work awaits on a different Saturday afternoon on a faraway shore. Serve them anyway. Love them fully. Share your mask.
Understand that the hard work is this: you, on the shore, removing your oxygen supply long enough to share it with someone else. Someone unknown and potentially careless. Someone with a plaque their mother keeps in her den to dust on Tuesday afternoon.
Share anyway. Work anyway. Practice the art of submerging and emerging. Spend your week on the shore where there are laundry piles and coffee mugs and calendar appointments swirling like sand, creating wind tunnels of life-giving distraction. Welcome the shore. Learn from the shore.
And then, Saturday afternoon will arrive and you must return again.
There will be sand in your pockets.
Bring the crowbar.