Authenticity and Inspiration

Posted by on December 8, 2009 in writing | 0 comments

Authenticity, like sustainability, is a word that is so overused it is just about meaningless.  When you read about how to use social media to improve your business, you will read that you must be authentic, you need to be human, you should show emotion, until you must conclude your personality should be on display when you write a blog post, say something on Facebook or post something on Twitter.  The thing is, it’s hard. It’s hard to open yourself up, to display what your really think and feel to all the world. If you write a thoroughly researched, coherent post about a something you care about–at a distance–and someone criticizes it, you probably won’t lose too much sleep.

But. If you write about something painfully real, and close and true, and someone criticizes it…Well, that’s a different story. In that case, you might stay up all night fretting about it. Even if 100 other people tell you how awesome you are, you still might obsess about the critic.

For a few months, I practiced free writing for 15 minutes every night. No matter what else was going on, I sat down and wrote for 15 minutes. I didn’t plan to use those journal entries for anything, but several months later I went back and read a few of them. The very best ones were the entries I wrote when I was pissed off. Like, ready-to-quit-my-job-get-a-divorce-move-to-a-new-city-where-nobody-would-know-me pissed off.  In fact, such times are really the only times my writing is terribly personal or emotional. It’s hard.

So, even though reading Penelope Trunk’s blog disturbs me sometimes, and Naomi Dunford makes me sad sometimes, I find both blogs inspiring. They make me feel, and that’s rare on the internet.

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