This column is my 6,000th consecutive daily Musing.
Feeling no less excited every morning when I walk and then write, no less excitement preparing my next day’s column, I choose to keep going. No hesitation. While there are many things in my life deserving re-thinking, this isn’t one of them.
No rules on subject or length, no matter how frazzled or dazzled I might be about anything going on, sitting down to explore what might land on this blank page every day has become part of me as much as I am part of it.
Recognizing moments like this can be measured from either end (like viewing through opposite ends of a telescope), recognizing how far I’ve come, or daunted/excited about how far I have yet to go.
Of all things in my life, daily writing – doesn’t have an endpoint plan or means-to-end objective. Spilling self on pages, I’ve been guided to make sense of my life and feelings a bit better, appreciating value in giving voice to them, clarity coming from hearing my feelings out loud. Makes me a better writer and that makes me a better human. Helps me in relationships of all kinds and in my work, because I’ve learned that scary issues aren’t so scary when given a voice …
To those who might consider something similar I recommend it. To readers and supporters who’ve come and gone and most emphatically to those who’ve stuck around, to those who give me feedback and also to those who don’t write/reply but call me up or talk to me when we cross paths – also to those who never reply, your continued support as readers is appreciated and valued – I am grateful.
What has warmed me more than any other thing is feedback from someone who was impacted to do something, say something or decide something because my column one day triggered something for them – I don’t think there is anything more valuable to any writer than to know they’ve done that. I know I have on a few occasions because people have reached out to tell me.
My first Musing column had no large audience or longevity in mind – and if anyone had asked me then whether I would keep it up for a long time I would have scoffed.
6,000 days on, still doing this. My first Musing was short, written for an audience of six, of which daughter Carla and my friends Jim and Kevin remain on my distribution list. Many have come, and gone (currently 5,800+). What does that prove? To casual observers, probably not much.
I’ve tried to figure this out because, when I discuss this with people it often comes up – what do readers find in this and why do they remain loyal? And why do I keep doing it when most of them remain silent? The second part is easy: no writer of articles or books expects to hear from or enter into a dialog with a large number of readers – which is not to say they don’t enjoy, they just want to appreciate in silence. I get this. I read lots of writers but I don’t write to them or call them up. I do, sometimes with some – because what they wrote stirred me. More likely though, if they stirred me I will tell someone else or maybe just ‘do things differently’ because of that influence.
I read somewhere that writing is holding up a mirror for others to see themselves. I like that analogy but don’t think that’s quite it. Rather, I think I’m holding up a mirror and writing about what I see. And people like to take a peek, to see what I’m seeing. Sometimes it might be interesting, sometimes of no interest at all. Being a fly on someone’s wall is easy and convenient. Being both the observer and the observed at the same time isn’t as easy because it implies the obvious voyeurs, there is always someone watching.
For instance, if I posted a blank page, would anyone notice? Sure, some would care, but many more would just hit delete and check in tomorrow. That’s OK. We are all bombarded by so many electronic, hard copy and personal confrontations every day it is a miracle we can absorb much of anything.
I remember so well, it was in that first year when there might have been a few hundred followers of this column, before there was a website and a list service to send out my columns – there was a glitch one day. I’d sent my column out (so I thought), but those emails hadn’t actually been sent. I was on my way to an appointment. A reader/friend/mentor Kathy (KT) called to see if I was OK. By the time I got back to my office there were several emails asking “where is my Musing email today?”.
While I’ve had many moments and days of self-doubt since then about many things, I learned that day that what I write matters. It doesn’t matter to everyone every day but it likely matters to someone every day – so I’ll keep writing.
Each time I hear or read something brilliant written by someone I admire who achieved great success in their writing they often started very young, published young and (often) died young. I wonder sometimes what my writing would be like if I started that young. There is no right or wrong answer, but I also recognize most people write about what they’ve lived and experienced or about what they dream about and imagine? Both, of course.
And yes, there will be another column tomorrow, # 6,001 …
Sixteen years ago, if someone challenged me to write something every day for a week I would have shrugged. For a year, I would have been doubtful. But for 6,000 days? I would have answered that I could never do that. Well, it seems I did.
Great Post today. People watching is intriguing and you learn so much. Problem I see is people are ready to assume, to judge on something or someone. That is why so many things happen. If we can look at something that happened a billion years ago in our galaxy, then why as a Society can we not look at people the same way. I love to converse, to debate, I think its healthy. We can all learn from each other if we park our ego's at the door. Cheers my Friend. Have an Awesome weekend!, MJ, Calgary, AB