Besides finding the motivation to actually write, there are actually a lot of other factors that make blog writing a difficult practise.
Not every blog writer will experience the issues I'm about to raise as I think it's very dependent on the kind of person you are and what you blog about. But let's start from the beginning shall we, which coincidentally, was the name of my very first blog post almost 7 years ago.
Jeez, that's a blast from the past!
So I think it's important to understand why I started this blog in the first place. I never saw this as the beginning of some sort of journey where I was going to amass thousands of readers and build it into something I could make a living from. I mean don't get me wrong, if I knew what I know now I probably would've but I was a young naive 19 year old who just wanted a space to vent my opinions and practise my passion of writing.
And because this is a place where I want to feel comfortable expressing myself fully I understand that this can come at a consequence. There's no doubt that the world has changed a lot in the past 7 years and with this, values and opinions that may have been considered "normal" and mainstream back in 2014 are suddenly controversial. I don't necessarily have a problem with the notion that things progress and as humans we gain a better understanding of social issues so it is only expected that the zeitgeist will go through its own transition. My main issue is that now you are treading in very dangerous territory if you are being perceived to say anything remotely contentious.
I would say two of my main prominent characteristics are - knowing that I've hurt or offended someone makes me feel physically sick and always doing my best not to judge anyone based on their values, opinions or appearance. And these two factors come into play drastically when I am crafting a new blog post.
In terms of being offensive, of course I would never go out of my way to intentionally offend someone but this doesn't negate the fact that no matter what your intentions are people may still be offended. I used to want to be in a place where I could write a blog post without offending anyone but instead I think I would much rather adapt to being okay with offending people. The problem with the former is that it is almost impossible. If you want to talk openly and honestly about a particular topic then no matter what you say you will always run the risk of offending someone. And I think in this context offending people is okay.
When I write these blogs I am not speaking about the readers own personal situations or outlook. I'm also not here to tell you how to live your life. Everything I write is coming from my own lived experience and perception of the world around me. I am not speaking as some sort of moral superior or arbiter of knowledge. I write in order to open people's eyes to my perspective whilst also hoping to start honest debates in the hopes that I can learn a thing or two myself. We all have a very narrow view of reality. We can't help that, it's shaped by our upbringing, environment, education and relationships and if you are speaking from a place that is informed by these things then people can not tell you you're wrong for thinking or feeling the way you do. Of course, people will disagree which is totally fine but they can not invalidate your feelings.
And this is what I try to focus on. I always try and keep as honest as I can so I know that there isn't a single person out there that can invalidate my opinions. Of course people try and yes it hurts. Theres nothing worse than being made to feel like a bad person for having feelings and thoughts that you cannot change. And I've done a lot of reflection on this in the past year. As the world becomes for ever more political with certain societal ideals being attributed to either the left or right it's hard to feel as though you're an individual that can have an opinion that is truly your own. It breaks my heart that I could write something and someone out there can then make an assumption on what they think I'm saying. But going back to my original point, it is a risk I have to accept.
And with this I have also come to terms with the fact that there are some topics that I simply can never write about despite having genuine thoughts and feelings. This may be down to my own biological characteristics or because I know that questions I have or views I hold may not be aligned with what is deemed "acceptable" in the world of social media. So to write about these in a way to make them more accessible would be compromising my own moral integrity which I am not prepared to do.
With the topics I choose to cover however, I do attempt to always be a bit balanced and not too contentious with my language. I don't write to rile people up in the slightest. I want it to be known that everything I say is coming from a place of innocence and genuine questioning.
Speaking on not judging people, I think where this really cripples me is being naive to the fact that other people don't afford me that same courtesy. I can not write in a way where I can be sure that the reader will not judge me for certain things I've said. And sometimes it can lead to some sticky situations where people interpret something I've said based on their own bias. And what is so frustrating is that I can't even blame people for that. It's human nature to make sense of things based on your own experience but this can often lead to inaccurate assumptions and determinations. I am not trying to absolve myself of moral responsibility and any writer does need to be mindful of the words and language they use, but at the same token the reader has the duty to not put words in the writers' mouth.
Having said all this, one of the biggest troubles I have writing blog posts is people's perceived ideas of who I am and what I should believe. No matter what the issue is, there is a significant chance that I may have a different opinion than you. AND THAT IS OKAY. It doesn't make either of us right or wrong but if you want to label someone as morally inferior or lacking compassion because of the difference in opinion then you actually might be a narcissist. Imagine thinking that your opinion on every single matter in the world is ethically superior to those who oppose you. Even though nothing I write is particularly political in nature I know that a lot of people I know are left leaning so I tread very carefully when I want to say something that could be considered right-wing but the reality is... I shouldn't have to. There is nothing wrong with being right-wing in the slightest. If you can't read something without being able to look at it from an objective standpoint then you should probably get off the internet. I am not saying we should be completely devoid of emotion when reading articles or blog posts but always ask yourself how can you be so sure that how you feel is somehow worthier than what you are reading? Two contesting viewpoints are able to co-exist without either side being wrong or ill informed. Because a lot of the time one side can't exist without the other.
Anyway, moving forward, this blog isn't for you if you're unable to genuinely be open minded. It's not for you if you can't look at this objectively even when the topic is particularly personal to you (because it might be personal to me also). This blog is not for you if you're a huge believer of censorship and de-platforming. It is most definitely not for you if you have pre-conceived ideas of who I am what I should believe and can't deal with the fact that I may not meet those expectations. I'm not a monkey at a circus here to parrot your views or validate your existence. I mainly write this blog for me in order to widen my world view and just share genuine aspects of my values and philosophy. If that's something that sounds appealing to you, then welcome!
Let me leave you with a quote from someone who I believe has one of the best minds of this generation:
"You can accept people, treat them fairly, and extend kindness without submitting to every tenet of their world view. If that's not enough for someone, they are not seeking an 'ally', they need a parrot." - Ayishat Akanbi
Shall I tell you what's mad though, I'm still thinking about if I may offend someone with this post. Yikes!