My Pre-blogging Jitters

I never thought that I would be drawn to blogging. Just last week, I was contented watching TV and surfing the net for “random things that catch my attention”. Blogging was ushered into my life by a mere stumbling upon one well-written article. And just like love at first sight, it happened just like that. Blogging arrested my attention like one hunky dude would. This hunky dude of a Blog reciprocated my attentions and began flirting with me.

Never in my history of contemplations did I think of blogging. For one, I’m afraid of people reading my write-ups. I have mentioned here that since I was in grade school, I have developed the desire to write, regardless of my knowledge in writing. I have kept diaries, journals and uncategorized write-ups hidden for many years because I have this crazy dream of becoming a writer someday – a Filipino writer who could write lengthy writing pieces in English. But since then, I was never sure if I made good writing pieces.

Nobody told me anything; no one would critique me constructively. My only consolation was the high grades I earned in my English subjects in school. With all this doubt, I chose to keep it to myself that I am crazy about writing. It was a clandestine affair. Imagine treasure chests and decorative boxes hidden under the bed for safekeeping. Locks, chains, and all – I’ve had them – just so I could keep my writings safe from prying eyes.

Even as I desired at an early age to be a “good writer”, there was no way to learn writing exclusively. There were the English classes in school, but they weren’t tailor fitted to mold one into a certified writer.

Insecure. My writing tends to be much like that. Maybe because, growing up, I used to be insecure and my writing reflected that. I did not feel sure about the things I write even if I handled facts. There was always that nagging feeling that I might plagiarize or accidentally forget to give credit to someone.

There are many Grammar Nazis out there. In the Philippines where English is the second language, we are all too aware of the strict rules in English. Any deviant utterance or wording sends signals to the Grammar-Nazi-wired-minds and all of a sudden, they are at you like… well, the Nazi’s. It’s usually difficult to stand up to a Grammar Nazi. They tend to scorn with derision and place judgment upon your head as if you’re Hester Prynne in The Scarlett Letter.

Because I lack training and an exclusive education in writing, I am not sure if I’m doing the right things in writing. Is my grammar and syntax correct? Is my editing okay? Am I weaving my sentences correctly? Am I using words appropriately? There are just too many things to take into consideration. I am my own editor albeit having limited knowledge.

Growing up, I only relied on my mom, the TV, and books for my first-hand experience in the English language. My mother would sometimes talk to me in English, but that would be it – just “sometimes”. You see, I had to learn three languages simultaneously: English, Tagalog (our national language), and Ilocano (our dialect), so there was a great deal of codeswitching going on. The TV became the medium through which I have been made aware of the culture part of language learning. Books were the supplementary materials.

Rejection is another concern of mine. What if I don’t attract many followers? Fear holds me back. Who wants rejection? Who needs it? As I ease into blogging, I find myself gradually opening up to the possibility of rejection as a necessary evil. Dyan Sheldon said, You can’t be wise if you’ve never been a fool. This is true. How will I learn if I remain a fool who is easily affected by rejection? I stand by the proven and tested maxim that experience is the best teacher. The experience of rejection could be some form of training – one that exercises and prepares the body and soul for greater challenges.

Criticism (the destructive ones). Are there critics out there intending to bring me down? I believe there are. The world shelters both good and bad, so I must expect that however good my intentions are, there will always be someone out there intending the opposite. There will always be two sides to a coin; why should things be different in blogging? There is constructive criticism and for sure, there is the other type of criticism.

Commitment. Am I ready to commit to blogging? It’s a relationship that needs maintaining. It’s as demanding as a person in that, it requires time and attention and constant updating. It’s like checking out on a friend every now and then. Failure to commit will guarantee a stressful break-up – leaving you empty and unfulfilled. I already have my hands full beyond the confines of this desk. Will blogging fit into my tight schedule?

Discouragement. What if someone tells me to bugger off and stop blogging? What will I do? How will I respond to that? I could only hope for the best.

Comment trolls. I’ve been fortunate enough not to encounter one… yet, and I hope I will never have to meet one of these so-called “trolls”. These are people who are all-too-prepared to throw the nasties my way. I’ve heard sorts of terrible things about them. It’s funny how they are characterized like the bogeyman – whose only role is to scare children.

Close-minded bashing. Ah, my controversial misgiving. I seriously debated whether to include this concept in this blog because I would have to say words that may offend some people. I grew up in a conservative society. Any form of liberality is censored, filtered… sometimes, forbidden. I remember  being reprimanded many times for writing about romances and love in my notebook. I was only making up stories. Apparently, it wasn’t “fit and proper for young ladies my age to think of romance and love”. I was thirteen at that time. I also snuck reading novels because they were forbidden. D.H. Lawrences’s Lady Chatterley was forbidden; Judith McNaught was forbidden; The Odessa File was forbidden; Demian by Hesse was forbidden; Moby Dick was forbidden; Trauma by Robert Crais was forbidden… in fact, all the books in a “mysterious box” which a certain Aunt of mine hid, are forbidden. Perhaps it was because most of these books contain love scenes and liberated ideas that were just “too much and too evil for my innocent mind”. I was also prohibited to dance, dress in mini-dresses, sing “secular” songs, stay outdoors past 6:00 in the evening, talk to guys alone, be with “worldly people”, cuss, talk back to my parents, wear sleeveless… the list goes on. I probably have to save these things for another blog, for another time. But I hope you got my point. Basically, anything “of this world” was not allowed and was deemed evil. If I were to go back to that place and time, blogging my heart out, I would probably be condemned to the deepest ring of Dante’s Inferno.

Sneaky traitorous users. What if, by some slight chance, someone gets funny ideas of taking my content and use it under their own personal guises? Supposing they are better writers and they realize that they could easily tweak and twist my content into their own style, masking my ideas as their own and presenting it into the unknowing world… And what if, for some unfortunate instance, the “tweaked and twisted” version is embraced by thousands of followers, leaving me utterly destitute, helpless, and defeated? What then? What will my 31 (as of today) followers say?

I probably have more fears than I expected. I decided to exclude the other “fears” for fear that they may be taken against me… haha. But I know these misapprehensions are normal. Someone out there must have felt the same things or worse. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right? What matters is that I love what I am doing and I know that blogging will help me become a better person in more ways than one.

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