A couple of nights ago I was looking through some inspirational quotes on writing when I came across this one from Ernest Hemingway:
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
It’s no secret that over the past year I’ve sold out on the idea of creating authentic content, but something about his quote really struck a nerve.
Perhaps it’s his use of the word “bleed”, which at first seemed a bit intense to me — but after letting it sink in, I’m fairly positive that Hemingway chose that word intentionally.
A Narcissism Epidemic
Yesterday I read an extremely profound article that talks about our dangerous obsession with external recognition. I was floored at how accurately it depicts something that I believe many of us struggle with:
Although our fundamental desire to be noticed is not a new phenomenon, our unending use of social media has radically elevated the level of ego in our lives.
I have to admit, at times, that I’m guilty of this. It goes on to say:
Even the most disciplined entrepreneurs, executives, and consultants are addicted to the powerful endorphins associated with heightened visibility.
I suggest that you better start the conviction process, my friends.
I believe that social media is capable of eradicating our souls, but blaming platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is a cop out.
You see, we all have a choice in how we portray ourselves online — we just use the aforementioned platforms to carry that out.
It’s a decision we make when we frame our lives in a way that simply isn’t real. It’s just too easy to paint pictures that we want others to see.
The Fear of Failing
In today’s society, being honest isn’t always the “cool thing” to do.
We’re trained at an early age to strive for the best and anything short of that is failure. Though we must define what striving for the best really is.
Is it a measure of tangible progress or is it a measure of character? If it’s the latter, then we’re in a much better spot than we think.
I’m guessing that for most of us, we want to achieve something real. We want more money, more awards, more followers.
But on any given most day, I simply think we’re afraid.
Afraid of being seen as a failure, or being seen as someone who just can’t get it right. And with this fear comes the personal struggle to be authentic, which ultimately destroys us.
If we can’t feel like we can be ourselves, then we look for another person or thing to be. So we put on masks and hope that our readers won’t see us for who we really are.
The Kurt Cobain Effect
Among the many tragedies of our culture was a guy who spoke some pretty hardcore words. You may have your own opinion of Kurt Cobain, but how can you argue with what he says here:
I’d rather be hated for who I am, than loved for who I am not.
For me, this can’t be any truer — and I shared this in my own words:
I’d rather be known as an authentic fool than a bogus rockstar.
— Brian Gardner (@bgardner) December 11, 2013
And with this desire to stay true to myself (and to all of you) is the idea of circling back to what Hemingway said about writing.
I want to bleed all over my blog. I want you to see the real me, no matter what the cost or at what expense. No triage, just honesty and being real.
A Personal Challenge
Let’s talk about you — how are you doing with authenticity and writing?
Is this something you’re comfortable with? Do you have any fears about the way you present yourself on your blog?
I want to challenge you to take steps as the New Year comes around and see if that makes any impact on the conversation that takes place.
In the meantime, let’s talk about it in the comments below.