Hone Your Craft: Why Blogging May Pay Off in the Most Surprising of Ways
I think it was Liz Gilbert who first made me fall in love with monologuing memoirs when she invited me into her world with her captivating experiences in Eat Pray Love. Now, of course, the novel has become something of a cliche; written off by those who have only delved as deep as Julia Roberts' portrayal. As wonderful as my favourite actress is in the Hollywood adaptation of one of my favourite books, a mere viewing is akin to smelling a plate of spaghetti in Liz's adored temporary home of Italy and saying that you've tasted it: You're close, but missing out on the true experience.
This is, however, not a love letter to Liz Gilbert, although it could be, given how I have devoured almost all of her works (if you're stopping at EPL and Big Magic, you have some book buying to do my friend). Instead I thought this a suitable springboard into a topic swirling in my mind of late: one of the unexpected payouts of the blogging world.
This summer, one of my tasks involved video creation in a style I had never undertaken before. My boss asked me to make it with very little understanding of the process herself, and thus I found myself a relative expert on the subject having never even stepped near a film class nor so much as having viewed a tutorial that wasn't on YouTube. Trial, error, and some panicked googling later, and I have three short videos to show for it; videos that have been admired at differing ranks of the administration at my university (who, ultimately, I was working for).
So where did my basic knowledge for movie making come from? Simply: vlogs. The many (many) hours of editing that I have undertaken for my travel vlogs have instilled in me an understanding of this subject, driven by the incredible techniques of the YouTube stars I consume regularly. I would see a skill, research endlessly until I could do it myself, and then execute it to the best of my ability. Compared to them I am still mediocre, but I now possess a skill set that I certainly couldn't boast last October, when I posted my first video. More than that, it also gave me a confidence in my ability to learn. I didn't know this particular style, but it didn't matter. I knew that I would keep going until I cracked it, and cracked it I did.
I referred to/ hero worshipped Liz Gilbert in the first part of this post only because it was upon flicking through EPL, whilst sorting through my bookshelf, that I realised I had imbibed some of her lyrical self reflection (although I am obviously no where near as talented). I adored the relatable emotions that seeped from her writing, despite our lives playing out very different paths, and I can see the influence her style has subconsciously had on my own. However when I first picked up the now tattered copy my writing was stilted and unstructured, a million miles away from the sentences that I am now proud to put my name to.
The difference, you see, is practise. In pushing myself to post around three times a week, I accidentally provided myself with a platform in which to hone my writing skills. Early attempts on this blog are laughable in their awkward phrasings, and perhaps one day I will too cringe at this. But one thing is for certain: practise does indeed make perfect, and in giving myself this hobby I have unwittingly equipped myself with skills that are already beginning to pay off. Not so much on here - I have banned myself from Google Analytics for my own sanity and thus I am 90% certain that my only readers consist of key members of family and I could name which ones. No, it is in the "real world" that I see the biggest reward, and it was a surprise reaping when I discovered the advancement of these skills.
So if an activity seems to be taking its time to bear fruit, I urge you to be patient. When you love your craft it is a privilege to hone it. You may not love it everyday, and it may sometimes make you want to throw your laptop/notebook/cross stitch tapestry out of the window. But stick at it through the bad times, and relish the good. You may be surprised where and when it pays off, but it will one day: I promise you.
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