Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Performing For a Live Audience: And How it Can Stymie My Creative Process
The only thing worse than prolonged conversation with people when I need alone time, is performing in front of a large group of people. Blogging and networking online forces me to do both, and thanks to all the ways to track views, the very meter of success forces me to acknowledge how many people I may be performing for.
The desire to create a good impression to so many people--whose expectations and experiences are so alien to me feels crippling. I wake up early, planning to write three of four blog posts, and then to post one on each blog and suddenly I want no part in it. I start picking up almost anything to avoid writing these posts.
This blog is a chance to go over parts of my process that I struggle in and am sensitive towards. As everything seems clearer to me once I write it, it seems like it would be good to hash it out in works. Yet, the very fact these are sensitive and troublesome aspects of my process keep me from wanting to post them. This juxtaposition would be largely humorous if it wasn't standing between me and more success.
My less important Aquagarden Blog, that records more a hobby than anything that could be a career maker, still manages to create this feeling of anxiety. I like taking the pictures of the tank and the plants. I like being able to look back and see day to day growth compared. And still, I see the 200 page views on 20 days of work, what most people would consider a pathetic turn out, and think it's too large.
It concerns me to think of so many people looking at the blog and judging me with no more context than I've provided. Part of me starts filling up all this supplemental reading and writing I should create to justify the blog.
Perhaps a betta 101 care post along with references to prove I'm taking good care of the fish. The whole post would only take three hours to research and write. It would both prove my ability as a fish care taker and possibly increase traffic.
Then, I remember that how large a betta tank should be is a HUGE source of controversy, and I realize that will need it's own post. For this I'd have to look up the varying opinions, analyze them and then integrate whatever scientific research there is on fish mental, physical, and emotional health. This is minimum six hours.
Another point of controversy between the fish hobbiest community and the aquaponics community is exactly what kind of filtration system fish need and whether water changes need occur. Honestly, I've done a good 30 hours research and can't give an answer to these questions. I sort of just skim over them on the blog. My tentative answer seems to be that plant roots can be a complete filtration system, but there are a lot of factors at work in my own tank--let alone what may be going on with others for me to truly answer this concern.
And I've only scratched the surface of the fish side of the equation. I'm already how many hours justifying a hobby blog where truly, we may not have an answer yet for some of the questions or concerns aquaponics raises.
Why do I feel so compelled to justify myself? Why am I so nervous to just to put my thoughts or feelings out there? What do I think is going to happen when people read my posts?
I wish I could understand this crippling fear. Never afraid to write, only afraid to present. Still, I know if held me back from creating a new Aquagarden post for a week. I had to force myself to take pictures I suddenly dreaded, look at my blogger account, and go through and post.
Likewise, here I have three posts I've started and abandoned. One about what as an aspiring novelist I'm trying to create, one about race portrayals in fiction and creating responsible character diversity, and this current post I'm slogging through. As the least controversial, it's easiest for me to share. Why am I so afraid to get things wrong?
All I know is that of my three projects, I like my novel best because it goes out on paper completed. There will be no addendum, no corrections, and no ongoing conversation as I create. Sure there may be judgement and discussion on the final product, but it won't be the extended relationship that blogs and networking sites allow for. Something in that format seems so much safer and more distanced.
On the other hand, I've spent a few years researching details for the novel--obsessed that even the smallest little pieces feel real and as if they're coming from a rich and vibrant tradition. For all I know, it's less the judgement and more that I've allowed myself more time to do all the insane research so I feel more ready. It's a shame the internet needs things to go too quickly to allow for the same level of in depth detail work.