Conventional Wisdom

Last year I participated in an incubator program through The CLUB, a women's leadership group in the San Francisco Bay area. It was a great experience that helped me take charge of my career, land a new job, and grow friendships with professional women. Each month we focused on a different aspect of our career and often had experts brought in to share their wisdom. One expert reviewed our social media profiles and web sites (if we had one) ahead of time, and commented that if we were going to blog, we should post regularly and often. She called out an example of what not to do, which was to keep up an old blog, meaning one without recent content, and used my blog (without calling me out directly, of course) as the example. Even though she did not intend to embarrass me, I felt ashamed, and after I got home that evening I took down (hid) the blog portion of my site. This expert shared that what she does, since she's super busy like the rest of us, is to hire a ghost writer to create content, then uses software to schedule the posts to be released at regular intervals. She recommended that those of us who didn't have time to write, yet who wanted to build an audience and become known as experts in our field, do the same.

I wanted to be open to her recommendations, and for several months her words kept replaying in my head. In some ways, it prevented me from writing and moving forward. But, finally, I decided that it was okay for me to choose a different path, and to follow my own wisdom. I admitted to myself (and now to you) that I have to feel a connection to the words I write, and I have to feel connected to the people I'm writing for. The only way that works for me is to be an active participant in the writing process itself. Plus, writing is healing for me. It helps me to understand how I feel about things. I feel a greater sense of self-awareness when I write and I like being accountable, even if it's just to myself. 

So, I am kicking conventional wisdom to the curb! Who cares if I put up one blog post every year, two, or even five years? What matters to me is that it's my voice and it's authentic to who I am. 

Here's a poem I wrote this morning. For some reason, writing poetry when I feel conflicted helps me to feel better. Oh, and I put my blog back up: old posts and all.

don’t even bother

conventional wisdom says
don’t write, unless
you have something relevant
or new to say
don’t write, unless
you write often
post regularly

conventional wisdom says
if you can’t, you can
hire someone to write for you
to post regularly
using their work, signing your name
showing you have something useful
to say

conventional wisdom says
write and post and tweet and read
influencers in your field
know how ahead or behind
you are and hope
you can breathe
a little softer

conventional wisdom says
read and subscribe
to every outlet and channel
study your audience
write according to their interests
show them how to subscribe and follow
your conventional wisdom

conventional wisdom says
don’t write and don’t post
don’t bother getting started
unless you can follow
conventional wisdom
and convince others
to do the same