For those of you who don’t know, Mr. Durham is my creative writing teacher. He’s the one leading us on the path to publication and so much more this semester. He shared this a short bit ago, and I certainly, relate, but have a bit to add. Read his post first.
I see a lot of you have somewhere between 10-20 followers, meaning, most of you are following a little over half your class. Go to my main page and find some other random classmates/peers to follow. Then read their latest blogs. See what they’re going through. You all have so much in common and most of those things are challenges, stress, and hardships (and you feel alone in these battles). A few of you leave a comment here or there for someone you’re friends with, but try reaching out to a few others. It’s not “creeping” to let someone know you can relate. In fact, that whole thought process of “What if they think I’m creepy?” is what separates kids from adults. Remember when we sent cards to that little girl? You know the last time I talked to her Mom in person? 1991. We emailed a few times when she added me on Facebook in ’09. Does that mean I was “creepin” her when I offered to help? Of course not. Get over your insecurities and just be a good person. Offer some kind words–it doesn’t take much. And when your life is not going so well, it makes you feel better. You know what I do after awful days of teaching? I call parents of the kids who’ve done well lately and tell their parents about how proud they should be. It makes me feel better. Instead of waiting for your luck and mood to change, change someone else’s.
If beginning to interact through a blog with someone you know seems awkward, you can always start by finding a random blog and experimenting (as awful as that sounds) with someone you will never meet. Not only will it let you reach out to people beyond your social circle and help you become more comfortable doing so, but you will become more comfortable opening up yourself as well.
As rising authors, my classmates might find a bit of inspiration as well in the fact that casting a web of connection can also bolster reputations. I’ve begun regularly commenting on several blogs outside the class along with a couple within it, and my blog hit quadruple digits in views recently, with support from seven countries and over 300 “followers.” I’ve developed a friendship with Natalie and received aid from a Mica, a Canadian blogger, because I’ve reached out.
Finally, the last point has merit as well. I don’t hide the fact that I had a particularly rough time last year, both in and out of school, but what I’ve (regretfully) shared less is how much I relied on honesty and connection with a number of people. No one is flawless, but we all tend to be our own worst critics. Admitting failures, along with victories, makes us feel so much more human, while raising someone else up can completely reverse a gloomy outlook. I can say there is science to back it up, but (and I think we can all agree) sometimes testimonials are far greater than numbers.
Until next time: Speak up, Share out, and Support all. You deserve it.