It doesn’t matter whether a blog is about travels, lifestyle, make-up, politics, literature or whatever: sooner or later bloggers, and especially female bloggers, will have to face a monster; a wicked witch that, to be honest, is always and in any case the main reason for the well-known “blogger’s burnout: a sudden and often long-lasting lack of ideas and motivation, as well as discouragement, that is comparable to the ancient and romantic blank page syndrome that prevents us from sticking to the deadlines set by the blog we have pledged allegiance and consistency to.
This multi-headed monster is called Self-Censorship.
It is often fed by healthy pills, like critical sense, irony and sarcasm, even a little (just a little) humility.
Just like when we eat chili pepper because it’s good for our skin, blood circulation etc. but then we suffer from acid reflux and we end up compromising one organ when trying to benefit another one! I really hope the metaphor is clear.
The truth is that the crisis experienced by bloggers and writers in general, doesn’t only come from a mere lack of ideas. Every well-organized blogger already has a list of precise titles and ideas that were born all of a sudden and whose planning is saved on some XLS file, ready to become the pride of the web (let’s be honest, the world would be lost without them).
Today, for instance, my plan was to post an article called “How to look good in pictures”, which is essential (I dare say vital) not just for bloggers but also for every visual social media user.
An extremely useful post, almost like my “unsolicited advices to deal with your curly hair when travelling” and as good as my post about how to avoid being the bad copy of yourselves when travelling to very cold locations (How to look pretty during winter travels).
As for this last post that was never born, I had already chosen the title…but there was also the periodic resort to self-censorship.
The latter appears first with a series of questions that even seem to make sense. Such as:
“Know that by acting this way, it looks like you take yourself (and behave) too seriously”
“What? You’re telling other people how to do things? Come on, do me a favour!”
“Don’t you think it’s better to only write about the 5 places where to drink the best tea somewhere?
“But wasn’t it a travel blog?”
“Excuse me curly-haired girl, who told you that you look good in pictures?
The point is… everybody tells me that and the truth is that even if nobody told me, I think I look good in pictures; so, why on earth shouldn’t I say how I manage to get that? It’s not a natural gift but it actually depends on a series of very small tricks and tactics learned after several years of practice.
Yes, that’s the thing.
Ever since I’ve been writing, constantly resorting to self-censorship is a toll I have to pay for myself and my writing business of any kind, from novels to articles.
Those voices you never know exactly if they’re coming from outside or from within, yet they talk to you in brackets expressing the layered concepts you realize you will never get rid of and that can be summed up as
- who do you think you are? you’re not a NYT opinion-maker/Nobel prize winner/guest in a talk show
- oh, come on, cut it out, find yourself a good job
- and if you’ve got to run a travel blog, just write about travels
- OK, but what about the seamen of the San Marco battalion?
- wait for others to say if you’re handsome/friendly/nice
Today, let’s see how I can remedy this perverse disease with a 1 euro per kilo stopgap; actually, if I let it spread like cancer, it will lead me to shut down my blog and stop writing within three months (oh what a loss! Too bad, here the thing gets serious folks!)
First of all, I could write about it, as I’m doing right now.
I believe it is the solution to many problems, you know?
Write something about what brings you to a standstill. When psychology and medical science suggest a diary, I would say go to a public place. From blogging to Facebook. Even 140 characters on Twitter can be a solution, which gets worthier depending on your summarizing skills.
Expose your mental problem to public opinion and ridicule, by spitting those last two drops of irony left in your little saliva now that your mouth is dry.
I don’t do it directly on Facebook because it already hosts enough discomfort and mine would be out of place.
(Well, Sabrina, if you continue using such biting remarks, sooner or later you’ll turn cynical about yourself. Here’s where self-censorship comes from).
Yes, true. Let’s say, it’s time for me to stop behaving like this.
Anyway, if you get tired of reading about my extremely interesting self-censorship issue, you can read something else on this blog, definitely nicer and more useful (more positive too), such as “6 Eastern Europe destinations you’ll fall in love with”or “Worth doing in Timisoara”
(well done Sabri, go ahead. Give yourself and others a second choice, prove that you know how to write about silly things as well as more or less useful issues, and that you write about travels whenever you feel like and only if you like. Add a backlink to someone else’s real blog and there you go!).
Getting rid of yourself and your own limits is the hardest thing to do, and it’s a hurdle even for the most experienced ones who have been able to get to the point of “Who cares”, that perfectly shows other people’s opinions but from a distance, just like the Albanian coast seen from Salento. (OK, let’s turn off the automatic metaphor creator for today, what do you think?)
Yet, after many years trying to get rid of what counts for others, there are always our thoughts and ideas breathing down our necks, even when they’re wrong. Or inappropriate. Or useless.
Therefore, I’m ready to write a post about how to look good in pictures, as a painful and complex form of self-liberation from myself writing sentences in brackets.
(oh well, and what will the world get out of this?)
Nothing, but the blog is going to get a few more visits and that’s enough. Not to mention the fact that if the human kind intends to save itself thanks to my blog, the extinction of species starts to look like the only way forward.