Why do we constantly fill our ears with noise and our lives with speed, leaving no time for those we love? Day after day, our oppressive schedules and mechanistic expectations drain yet another increment of joy from our souls. We rush from task to task, feeling guilty if we take any time for ourselves or for simple listening. We are tired from this hectic pace. We need to retreat into a time of rest and silence. ~Candy Paull
Are you blogweary? Even though you adore reading and maybe even earn your living from writing, are you tired of feeling you have to read dozens of blogs daily just to be able to market yourself and keep up? Are you tired of writing endless posts and comments for seemingly little return? Please don’t despair. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to show you how you can use your writing, reading and championing skills to to excavate the real you and make your life and your writing shine.
How can you connect with someone else’s heart and soul if you’ve become a stranger to your own?
Drink in some silence.
God is the friend of silence. See how nature —trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon, and the sun, how much they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls. ~ Mother Teresa
You may be sitting in a silent room, hearing only the clicking of keys on your keyboard, but as long as you’re writing, you’re not silent. As long as you’re reading this and hearing my voice in your head, you’re not silent. Sometimes, without realising, we are thirsty for silence. That absolute stillness where suddenly, the solitary song of a bird enters our world loudly, suddenly, and with it, a dog barking in the distance. Suddenly, there’s the realisation that we are spending far too much time away from nature and the real, tangible world.
Walk away from the computer right now. Go outside, or to a window if you can’t. Listen for the birds. See how many different songs you can single out. See which noises interfere, invade. Focus on one sound. Shut out everything else. Imagine its story…listen to the silence between the sounds, the silence between your thoughts.
Then come back and write it all down in a real notebook, with a real pen…
Did you do it? If you didn’t, could you try it later?
I did something similar last year, and it led to me writing Birdsong, one of my favourite pieces ever.
Twittering is no substitute for the glory of a real dawn chorus.
How can silence help? Retreat from Twitter for a few days. See how much time you save and how much energy you didn’t realise you’d been investing in it. I’m not a Luddite – I know its value to community building and marketing. But I’m only talking about a few days’ silence. Will your followers leave you? Your followed ones forget you? Your tribe move on and leave you behind?
If you live in fear of those things daily, are you surprised you’re blogweary? If you constantly feel like you’re fighting for your life and your survival, are you surprised that ‘more popular’ blogs depress you? That other people’s ‘Followers’ statistics make you despair? Are you surprised that your muse has left you? That you feel you spend more time making noise than you do making art?
The notes I handle no better than many pianists. But the pauses between the notes — ah, that is where the art resides. ~ Artur Schnabel
I prefer quality to quantity, and I often find that a brave determination to cultivate one leads to the other. I prefer inspiration to motivation. For me, motivation is about pushing and is often fear driven, whereas inspiration is spirit led and synonymous with doing what we love. Inspiration comes from somewhere we can’t control, but it’s a never ending source. Our part is to be prepared, to listen. To believe that the power of revelation is as awesome as the power of motivation and drive.
Sit with some silence and decide if you’re driven by fear and motivation or led forward by inspiration and love. Some of us are a mixture of away and towards people. There is no right or wrong here, bad or good, but its important to know if one of those is dominant in your life. Too much self-motivation and fear can lead to anxiety and burnout, a feeling of never getting where we’re aiming for and an inability to rest.
A total dependence on inspiration without doing the daily work to harness it can lead to writer’s block or existential depression and angst, if for some reason, you can’t ‘feel’ it or capture it.
To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude…because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions. ~ Deepak Chopra
Your real colleagues and friends will notice your silence if you take a few days off from blogging, commenting and tweeting. They will ask. If no-one does, then that’s even more reason to get out into the real world and invest your love and care and talents in people who will notice.
If you’re earning very little from your pro-blogging, what’s stopping you going out and doing some charity work in the way that suits you best? No schedules, no obligations, just contributing love, time and energy. Let your computer sit silent for a while. You won’t be any worse off financially, but you’ll have tales to tell and a heart that’s had a workout. If you don’t blog for money but to contribute and support and entertain, then why on earth don’t you just take a break!? Come back refreshed?
In your journal, explore what fears and feelings you felt in the silence. If you’re blogweary and have read this far but have decided that you can’t – or won’t – be silent for a few days, then I’d love if you could share your reasons with us.
If you do take a break, please come back and share what you learned.
In the coming weeks, I’ll be looking at more ways of rediscovering and refreshing yourself so that you can revitalise the way you support, nurture and connect with others.
In the meantime, if you haven’t already checked out my article Birdsong, please do. I feel it’s one of my best pieces and many people have written to say it inspired and helped them. It’s a piece I’m very proud of. Shaking off the Shoulds also explores the themes of overwhelm, inspiration and silence.
If you think you maybe just need a blogging spring clean, please have a read of my post How to Beat the Blogging Blues.