One of the aphorisms I’m fond of quoting is “given the freedom to do whatever they want, most people will choose to do what everybody else is doing.” I don’t know who came up with it, but it is true. And I’m probably as guilty as anyone.
It is natural for us to learn by watching and copying. It is the way we learn everything from multiplication tables to driving a car. But at some point, we need to put our own spin on things if we want to feel fulfilled. As another of my favorite Eccentrics, George Ohr, the Mad Potter of Biloxi was fond of saying – “I am the Apostle Of Individuality!”
When I started blogging, and reading and commenting on others blogs, I noticed two things:
1. A lot of people who do other things for a living write really well.
2. A lot of people who write really well don’t write things that are very interesting.
I don’t say this to belittle anyone, but even when you get past the Mommy bloggers, the recipe bloggers, and others that are all kind of cut from same template, even a lot of creative people don’t put much of themselves into things. And way too many are trying too hard to sell, sell, sell. Or establish themselves as some kind of “thought leader”.
And I find myself falling into the same trap. Sometimes when I get an idea from another blog, I find myself rehashing that idea without really adding much. Kind of like picking something up, dusting it and cleaning it up a little and putting it on a new shelf. You haven’t really created anything.
So I’m kind of at a crossroads. Like any blogger, I’d like to see more subscribers and comments. Writing for an audience that actually writes back is the thing I enjoy most. But just copying the things that others are doing to kind of spruce things up is not the answer either.
It’s one of those times in which we know we need to make some changes but aren’t sure just which of the 10,000 directions we could go is the right one. Maybe you’ve been there.
If you have, any wisdom you’d care to send my way is welcome!