An interesting thing often occurs when I sit down to write up almost any blog post I do… a gnawing sort of feeling that, even though I may like what I’m writing, I haven’t the slightest clue whether it will resonate with a single soul out there on Teh Interwebz. Needless to say, that can be a bit of an unsettling feeling because I do my utmost to ensure my blog entries are authentic – what you read is 100% pure me. Straight, no chaser.
In that way, I can relate a touch to the famous quote by Nietzsche, “And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Now granted, I am not generally a big fan of Nietzsche’s work because what he wrote (these large and powerful texts full of bravado) stood in stark contrast to how he lived (meek and mild, blending into the background), but I do like the quote. He may never have intended in such a way, but it often feels like how it is to sit down, stare at the open screen in front of me on my Mac and think, “Holy crap… is anyone really going to care AT ALL about any of this?”
Fortunately, some people do seem to care and have been nice enough to say so. Thank you to all of you – you keep me going.
But there is the daily challenge for us all in many ways: looking ahead into a future we can only view as that same kind of darkly murky abyss where nothing is clear and a good long stare will bring about nothing but even more anxiety, hand-wringing and general bad mojo. Seriously – it’s science. I looked it up in the New England Journal for the Furtherance of Mojofication Studies. It’s a very scholarly periodical designed for superior intellects like mine.
That’s why I realize a little more every day that the greatest triumphs are rarely a singular shining moment of transcendent excellence (although they surely can be). It’s much more often a collection of smaller moments that will eventual grow, gain momentum and become something much bigger than you could really expect when first starting out.
To use a strength and conditioning example to illustrate. When most people begin a serious exercise program, the gains come along at a fairly rapid pace as your body basically soaks up the new challenge and adapts to it, week over week. However, this will slow or, if you aren’t terribly thoughtful in your approach, stop all together. Once you’ve been doing something a while, new improvements do not happen nearly as rapidly, but rather, they develop as a slow build. It’s only at the end when you look back you realize how far you’ve come and how much you’ve truly accomplished.
So for me, it’s just one blog post at a time and with each ensuing entry, hopefully something approximating a body of work will come into focus… and maybe a few more people will read it, tell their friends and so on. I am still in the beginner stage where I should be a little smarter about getting my site a little more “pop” – no question about that. But it still won’t change the fact that in order for this project of mine to grow… it’s a series of entries just like this one, day in and day out.
You may not have a blog, but I know there is something you are working towards as well. We all have that “thing” that stokes our passions. Put in the daily work as best you can. I’m doing my best at it and some days are better than others.
Step up to that abyss, but don’t waste your time staring into it. It only stares back into you and it’s not a staring contest you will ever win. Instead? Give it a quick wink and promptly kick it’s ass a little bit every day.
2 Replies to “Staring Into the Abyss”
Yeah, I get that feeling. Not so much the feeling of staring into the abyss but the feeling that no one will care what I have to say. But I write anyway because for some reason I can’t write only for myself. I’ve tried journaling and it’s just not the same. I’ve managed to gather a small group of fab people who can be counted on to read and comment which amazes me every time. So I write for myself. I write for them. I write for the person who reads but just doesn’t feel comfortable commenting.
I agree wholeheartedly – sometimes it’s just about that group of people (no matter how big or small) who take something from your writing that makes it so rewarding.