“Wow, well done on your column,” some say. “Thank you,” I reply a little mortified.
“I didn’t know you were a journalist,” others say. “Oh I’m not,” I reply even more mortified.
“What do you write about?” they say. “Nothing amazing, just a comment on my life I suppose,” I reply, definitely more mortified than ever before.
These are just some of the regular remarks I get about my weekly column in the Irish Examiner Feelgood magazine. After nearly four years of blogging relatively anonymously locally, I’m beginning to get more used to those around me knowing I write.
I think so. For the first few weeks I over thought everything, knowing people I knew well would read it, conscious of what they’d think and how I’d come across. Then one day one of my regular blog readers, Jean from Social Bridge, commented, “Now you sound like yourself.” Since then I feel I have relaxed a lot, maybe not as relaxed as I am here, but more than I was.
The writing is still a bit of a pressure though. There are days when I wander about thinking about things I could write, but unfortunately they feature others in my life who have not signed up to appear in the paper so I must think of something else. Most weeks by the time I’m sitting to write I’ve a good idea of the topic, however occasionally, I open the lap top with deadline looming and not an idea in the world of what I am about to write. Thankfully something usually comes to mind and my fingers take flight.
As to how long my column will last, I’m not sure. To be honest every time I read an email from the editor I think she’s either telling me she can’t print that last article as it’s rubbish or she’s about to tell me nicely, I’m no longer needed. To date neither has happened but that doesn’t stop my blood pressure rising whenever I see her name in my in box!
All in all it’s been a really good experience. I’ve learned to cope with having my writing publicly acknowledged, I’ve managed to stick to a deadline, I’ve somehow found something humorous to write about my life every week and I’ve given myself a little kudos as a writer.
Are there any negatives to it? Yes. I’m still not over the embarrassment I feel when people speak publicly of something I’ve written and the fact a photograph of me is over the column, but perhaps the biggest negative is the time it’s taken from writing here. I do miss spilling my thoughts out and reading other blogs, but for now I’m spread as thin as I can be with the column, coaching and teaching swimming and also trying to find time to write stories and flash fiction.
It’s not a bad complaint though is it? There are many days when I wonder at the changes in my life since I first decided to begin this blog, four years ago this month. It’s been a steep learning curve and whilst I’ve enjoyed every minute of writing what I could never have known, is that blogging would lead to my making a whole host of online friends along the way.
Mmmm next time I’m stuck maybe I’ll put you in my column?