Half a decade of writing and sharing ideas and stories on this website! Can you believe it?!
It’s been a quiet year-and-a-bit for jofisherwrites.com. With creativity running dry due to the pandemic, fewer events and ideas, and even less time to write for myself due to work commitments, I think the last few months have been the slowest yet.
Nonetheless, I am still so proud of what I’ve created over the last twelve months – and the last five years – and so grateful for what it brings, and for those who read my work.
Since my first post, I’ve been on such a journey, and I’m certainly not the person I was when I first hit publish. While it’s primarily simply a space for me to share my work and my thoughts, this blog has also given me a huge amount of confidence, a reason to keep creating, a whole new network of amazing people, a space to grow and learn, and – out of all that – a huge number of opportunities!
I’ve performed slam poetry at the Royal Albert Hall, appeared at and attended numerous events in Southampton, run writing workshops, met some incredible people, and more recently started being paid – paid! – to craft words and bespoke poetry. My most recent freelance project – managed on the side of a full time job – has been bigger than I could imagine, and I cannot wait to see what comes next!
Putting your work out there isn’t easy. It’s not for everyone, and it can be a painful, uncertain and disheartening process. However, I’m so glad I took that leap and started sharing more and more of my work on here, and on my social media channels.
So, to mark five years of blogging on this site, here are five things the last difficult year has taught me about writing.
Five things the last year has taught me about writing.
You can’t force creativity
In lockdown I tried so hard to write, but often the words just wouldn’t come. Those were extreme circumstances, but even before Covid I found myself going through dry spells when it came to inspiration and motivation. I’ve learnt that it won’t always last forever, but if you’re not feeling it, don’t force it. Just dip your toe in every so often, and you’ll know when you’re finally ready to jump back in.
The world won’t end if you take a break
I felt awful when this site went silent for a few months. It seemed like I’d lose everything I’d worked for; but I didn’t. My posts still had visitors while I was gone, and I was still seen as a writer by everyone, even if I hadn’t had much to share.
We’re not machines, but sometimes we do need to switch off, reboot and maybe even go into sleep mode for as long as it takes for us to revive.
On top of this, a silent blog doesn’t mean there isn’t stuff happening behind the scenes! You don’t have to share everything.
If you were born to write, you won’t stay silent forever!
Sometimes it felt like I should throw in the towel; that I’d run out of ideas for blog posts or poems, that I was pursuing something futile, that I was embarrassing myself by doing something that was popular a decade ago, and I might as well try something else. After the aforementioned break, though, I felt the pull to come back. The compulsion to write will keep you tethered to your projects, and one day you’ll wake feeling the urge to put something down on the page again, however crude or rudimentary. If you’re a born writer, the words will find a way – especially if you prioritise writing for yourself. Whether you choose to share them is down to you.
Keep it simple
Some of my most popular posts are those which take the least amount of time, energy or editing. Sometimes I’ll spend weeks crafting a thought piece, only for it to be overshadowed by a basic listicle, for example. Equally, the posts that seem to flow from me instantly are the ones that get noticed. It seems if you stay true to yourself, and avoid overthinking (ha!) you might just be creating some of your best work.
People will support you, not matter what
It’s slightly similar to point number two, but whenever I press pause, there’s always someone waiting for me when I come back. I was thrilled to see that people were still reading and sharing my work after each mini hiatus, and there’s always someone happy to see you creating again (just as you would be for others!). It means the world – and while external validation isn’t everything, it certainly helps when you want your writing to reach, and captivate, an audience.
It goes without saying, but if you’ve ever read or shared anything I’ve created, validated me with likes, supported me in ways both big and small, felt connected to something I’ve published, or inspired me with your own amazing work or drive, I’m ever so grateful. Thank you.
Writing is something I’ve always done, and something I’ll always do. While I have multiple other projects now, and my dreams take the form of printed pages or sold-out events, it all comes down to simply putting words on a page whenever I’m able to; pressing publish on this website, waiting for the next idea to wing its way to me, and hoping that someone might read your words and and say ‘hey, me too.”
Here’s to the joy of continually learning and creating, no matter where it takes us!