Share your story

tell-me-a-storyI tread on a slippery slope as I compose these thoughts. In the publication of this post, I may alienate some readers, or I may attract others. Either way, these words are inside me waiting to escape. This topic is tugging at me to be contemplated, in both my mind and the minds of others. Be true to yourself. Sometimes the words that are most difficult to write are the ones that need to be read.

I didn’t think that I would be producing this post today. Not in the way you think though. It’s not like I had some premonition of impending doom or anything like that. It is actually quite a bit simpler and much less melodramatic. You see, I begin a lot of things. I take on new projects, too many to count. And often, they sit. Unfinished, unresolved, collecting dust. It’s both a blessing and a curse. I love to explore new realms, open new doors. I just tend to not spend a lot of time in the room once I get there.

This writing thing? It seems much different. When I wrote and published my first blog post, I would have been lying if I told you I was sure to be committed to it eight months later. In my unspoken thoughts, I suspected it may just be another one of those transient pursuits, a fleeting passage through another door from which I would quickly run and escape, bored and unfulfilled. I was very wrong, and I couldn’t be happier that I was. That initial post was the first step on a lifelong journey. A journey that has no finish line, but one that I am happy to travel upon. One that will provide many eye-opening observations along the way, each important in its own unique way. Today, I share one of those personal insights with you.

I had no grand aspirations about my blog being read by other individuals aside from family and friends. However, when the first notification appeared in my WordPress banner indicating someone liked a post, a peculiar type of addiction was born. With the simple click of a mouse, my perceptions on writing changed course. Like an airplane being diverted from oncoming traffic, I felt rescued, blinded by the fact I was being redirected into a storm cloud.

Suddenly, the number of likes I received on each post began to serve as a barometer for my writing success. Not success in the form of monetary gain or anything material. Rather, success defined as my ability to put words on paper and have the mostly coherent thoughts make a difference to someone else in a positive way.

In the weeks and months that followed, each like, each follow, served to deposit a form of mental currency into my emotional bank account. And can we really blame ourselves for wanting that? I would be lying to myself if I said that I didn’t feel a rush of adrenaline with each of those mouse clicks that resulted in a new like or follow. Even WordPress nudges our excitement levels along by displaying the message ‘8 people have liked your post so far. Nice!’ We all want to be liked, to be appreciated, to make a difference with our contributions to the world. Whether they are for business, pleasure, or anywhere in between, we all want to be accepted.

But. There’s always a but. Being liked can be dangerous. For some, it can become a malignant growth that permeates your being in a truly viral nature, overshadowing the original intent of your offering. The euphoric feeling of swelling social media statistics blocks you from conveying your true intentions. I have been witness to many websites, many people, many attitudes that have been cultivated and nurtured based upon these seemingly innocent and harmless mouse clicks.

Special invites to like other pages, personal goals to reach a certain number of likes or follows, like me and I will like you mentality. It has evolved into a compulsive desire for some. As if coercing or convincing someone to click a button on your page will provide some tangible evidence of your worth or value. Without even realizing it, I was teetering on the edge of this precipice. In a somewhat hypocritical manner, I was outwardly chastising this behavior on one hand while relishing in my site statistics on the other. A fortuitous voice of reason spoke to me upon reflection of words that are very familiar to me. My bio page.

walt-disney-quotes-it-seems-to-me-that-we-have-a-lot-of-story-yet-to-tellDuring those moments of infancy as a blog author, I was also most pure, relatively unbiased by the feedback and opinions of others. And in the compilation of that page about me, I unwittingly defined myself, providing a personal mission statement to live by in the process. My four words, inspire and be inspired, have evolved from those initial thoughts.

I don’t want to be liked. I don’t want to be followed. What I want is to share my story with others. And to have others share their story in turn. What I want is to make a difference, to make our lives more meaningful. Together. A click is just a click, but a single word has the power to echo in our memories forever. Like me, if you wish. Follow me, if you dare. But first and foremost, share your story.

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32 thoughts on “Share your story

  1. MRS N, the Author January 28, 2014 / 9:53 am

    I LOVED this blog post and it really speaks to me. SO many bloggers out there are concerned only about their stats and likes and so forth. I do love it when my writing speaks to someone! BUT… that is not the reason for my writing. I write to inspire, encourage and to shine the Light for all to see. Many will disagree with me and many will not understand me. But I am always true to my inner self and that is all that matters. Thank you for sharing what is a very personal reflection. It makes me smile to know that you love to write and are committed to going the distance. You are a brilliant writer and you shine the Light for those around you to see! 🙂 Keep at it, Dave! 🙂

    • davecenker January 28, 2014 / 10:11 am

      Thank you Mrs N. This was by far the most difficult post to publish thus far. A potentially controversial topic, it is something that is very close to my heart. Although I have come close to being lured by the power of likes, I too in the end aim to inspire and help others see with a new and fresh perspective. Thank you for sharing your story and best wishes for an inspired day 😉

  2. billyanderson74 January 28, 2014 / 10:07 am

    I often fall into a trap of “if I don’t get x amount of likes, I feel discouraged”. It shouldn’t be like that. I started my blog because I wanted to write. To get my thoughts out there…somewhere other than inside my head. I didn’t care if anyone liked it or not. I don’t want that to change. Thanks for the reminder, Dave.

    • davecenker January 28, 2014 / 10:15 am

      If we are being honest, I think we all fall into that trap. That was really the point in writing this post. To help others realize that they are not alone. To realize that it is human nature to want to be liked and accepted. And to remember that the ultimate reason that we write is for ourselves, and to always keep that at the crux of every post that we compose. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and best wishes for an inspired day!

  3. Lady Pinkrose January 28, 2014 / 10:55 am

    Dave, I wrote something along the lines of what you are saying here, though I must be honest, I was serioulsy kicking my own behind for falling off my horse of High Standards. I fell into the trap of “getting those numbers” so that I have a lot of followers. My eyes strayed from my Heart to that of greed. And boy, what I see others doing on WordPress all in the name of gaining followers, I blew my lid. I reflected what I did, and resolved not to ever do it again. I don’t play games and when I saw myself doing so, my Heart just would not be still. No No NO! I refuse to participate in these tactics……I follow you, you follow me…..I keep clicking like until you follow me……NO!

    I want people to honestly like my blog for what I represent. This competition and comparing of myself to others, I also stopped doing. I am who I am, take it or leave it. If you don’t like what you see on my blog, leave. Simple as that.

    Thanks, Dave, for this well written article. You were a lot more subtle then I was. ~Amy~

    • davecenker January 28, 2014 / 12:50 pm

      Thank you Amy for your very honest and heartfelt words. I tend to dislike “confrontation” so it was a stretch for me to voice my opinion so loudly, even though it was somewhat subtle 😉 The bottom line is that we all need to remember to remain true to ourselves. I am sure that I will be lured by numbers in the future. However, we ultimately do write for ourselves, and I will always have this reminder present for me to pull myself back to the innate love of expressing myself through the written word. Thank you again for sharing your story and best wishes for an inspired day 😉

  4. thewritertracy January 28, 2014 / 2:11 pm

    I think it’s human nature, and likely typical for all beginning bloggers. I know I went through this as well but soon realized all the mind games that come with worrying about those numbers. And that alone takes away all the fun of blogging!

    • davecenker January 28, 2014 / 2:39 pm

      Human nature indeed 😉 Thank you for sharing your thoughts and best wishes for an inspired day!

  5. I am J January 28, 2014 / 3:19 pm

    Omigosh, Dave. As a new blogger, your message REALLY hit home and I think you may have allayed many of my own anxieties and hopes about being a new blogger. Thank you for this post.

    I will say that I am so very grateful that you stopped by my blog and took the time to write a wonderfully encouraging and supportive comment on my latest post. You’ve helped me more than you know and, yes, I am following your blog now because it has value and meaning for me. Your blog is a worthy read.

    • davecenker January 28, 2014 / 3:40 pm

      Thank you J for your very kind thoughts and for sharing your story 😉 I think it is a misnomer that only beginning bloggers struggle with this conundrum. Alas, I think everyone experiences anxiety centered around these proverbial carrots hanging out in front of us 😉 It is truly in the sharing of stories that we gain a more holistic understanding of the world around us. A visit to your blog reminded me that keeping our eyes open to the ordinary around us can often produce extraordinary insights when looked at from the right angle. Thank you again and best wishes for an inspired day!

  6. MJ January 28, 2014 / 3:23 pm

    Lovely post Dave, and so nice to meet a fellow seeker among these pages :). Funny enough, my word for this year is “essence”, remembering the true nature of why I do what I do, in anything I do. The face of ego sometimes is brazen and recognizable, but the most conniving face is the one I don’t see coming. I tend to learn the most from the latter. Thank you for keeping it real, which in turn reminds all of us to keep it real, it’s a message we can’t learn enough.

    Btw, completely unrelated, we just transplanted from Orlando almost 2 years ago. 27 years of my life was spent there ;). What I miss most is the pool, the Live Oak with the draping Spanish Moss, and the awesome Asian food that was so easily accessible.

    Cheers…

    • davecenker January 28, 2014 / 3:49 pm

      Your words ring so true, thank you for sharing them. In a rather serendipitous manner, I often uncover that conniving face of ego through the course of my writing. Surprised? Yes. Thankful? Absolutely. Your word for the year, “essence”, is so all-encompassing and an ideal worthy of consideration by anyone and everyone. Thank you for the perfect word to convey that concept of being true to yourself.

      Although from the east coast of Florida, I certainly spend a lot of time in the Orlando area. I, too, appreciate the live oaks and Spanish moss that is prevalent in the area. Although I am prone to adopt the grass is greener on the other side mentality at times, I always return to how beautiful and unique area of the country I am privileged to live in.

      Thanks again for your insightful thoughts and best wishes for an inspired day 😉

  7. Lynn January 28, 2014 / 3:40 pm

    Hi Dave,
    I came across your blog through Joanne’s at My Life Lived Full. This is your first post that I have read but I have a feeling I will be reading more:) I too, began the journey of writing simply to share my thoughts & stories in hopes of perhaps touching someone else. What has evolved over the past 8 months is that I have the pleasure of learning about other peoples experiences, perspectives & adventures, not to mention meeting some wonderful people along the way. You inspired me today, I am only too happy to click follow, not because I would like to increase your stats, but simply because I sense I will benefit from reading your written words. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    • davecenker January 28, 2014 / 3:56 pm

      Thank you Lynn 😉 It appears as though we have a lot in common with respect to our writing endeavors. The great big world of the blogosphere has opened my eyes to so many brilliant insights, observations, and perspectives that have helped to fuel my passion, to inspire and be inspired. In a very cooperative manner, many of the wonderful pieces by other blog authors have helped me to think more deeply about so many different topics that I may not have otherwise contemplated. I sincerely appreciate your kind comments and for sharing your story. Best wishes for an inspired day 😉

  8. joannesisco January 28, 2014 / 8:33 pm

    Thanks for writing about that darkness we all feel and fear – irrelevance. We hope our stories will touch other people and the likes, comments and follows help to validate our efforts … but like you said, it is a very slippery slope. I feel sometimes like I’m shouting from a mountain top and waiting for the echo.
    Best wishes that you always find your inspiration!

    • davecenker January 29, 2014 / 12:14 pm

      What a perfect analogy, shouting from the mountain top and waiting for the echo. You are a gifted writer and I echo your sentiments about the fear of irrelevance. However, we always have an audience to read our work, even if it is our future self exactly when it is needed the most 😉 Thank you as always for your thoughtful words and insights Joanne and best wishes for an inspired day!

  9. Melissa Halsey Caudill January 28, 2014 / 9:40 pm

    Wow. You would think I had read this before writing my post today regarding depression medication. Thank you for the validation that telling my story was the right thing to do. And thank you for telling yours. This is my favorite of your blog posts yet (not that you needed that affirmation….) 😉

    • davecenker January 29, 2014 / 12:18 pm

      Thank you Melissa, I always enjoy reading your posts. I think as writers we lean on those around us for support (family, friends, etc), but we also look to each other as fellow writers to help capture our unique voice and summon the courage to use it in our words. Thank you for remaining true to yourself and to your readers. It truly is refreshing and inspiring 😉

  10. Marquita Herald (@martyinmaui) January 29, 2014 / 12:36 pm

    Powerful message Dave. I had to smile as I read about your journey because I could personally relate as I’m sure many other bloggers can. It’s a toss up which tweaks the adrenaline more – the first fan email you get from a reader or the first “unusbscribe.” No matter how many people told me to expect people to subscribe just to get the “free” welcome gift and then leave, I felt personally wounded. Fortunately it’s things like this you get over as you become more experienced. One thing is for certain, there is SO much more to this blogging thing (when you take it seriously) than one realizes when they set that first site up. I love it and I’m so grateful for others – like you – who feel the same way.

    • davecenker January 29, 2014 / 1:55 pm

      I always appreciate your comments and insights Marty and these are certainly no exception. Something that you brought up has really struck a chord with me and has helped me to think about another aspect of writing. You mention that there is so much more that goes into blogging when you take it seriously. At the onset of my blog, it was something fun, whimsical, sometimes feeling almost a bit contrived. But, over the course of its short life, my blog has become more than a side project. It has been interleaved with who I am. It has drawn out thoughts, observations, and emotions that I didn’t even know existed. And, it has helped me grow in mind and heart. Things I never planned on, but am so glad transpired 😉 I am looking forward to the adventures that this part of my life will uncover in the future. As always, Mahalo 😉

  11. apartmentwife January 29, 2014 / 6:20 pm

    Have you taken the myers-briggs personality test? i’m reading a book called Quiet (wonderful read about the value of introverts) that talks a lot about personality types, and this post rings true to a specific one… 🙂 also, i think you’re spot on with what you’re saying here — it’s hard to judge the value of an online relationship/connection when you’re just seeking endless follows and likes and clicks. what, exactly, do all those clicks mean? sometimes, however, i think they can be valuable if you’re looking to promote work or find a publisher or something of that sort, but, through it all, the main thing is to remain true to yourself.

    • davecenker January 30, 2014 / 8:16 am

      I think I have taken the Myers-Briggs at some point in my not too distant past, but I don’t exactly remember how it exactly panned out. Ironically, I see myself in the gray area. I am naturally reserved, quiet, and observant. Until. When I get to know someone and/or sit down to write, the flood gates open. It’s as if I am able to be a passive extrovert by putting my thoughts and emotions about various topics out to the world in a very “safe” manner. Like, here, I have something to share with you. Read it if you like. If not, no worries 😉 I will make note of the book you mention and add it to my wish list in GoodReads. As always, thanks for your insightful comments!

  12. Kat January 31, 2014 / 3:47 am

    I LOVE this blog post! It is so truthful and yes the most important thing is to share our stories. I find that sometimes I shy away from writing a blog post for fear of what others may think, which is something I need to work on. Your words continue to inspire me every time I read them. Your writing is so beautiful and natural. Have a lovely day xx

    • davecenker January 31, 2014 / 8:07 am

      Thank you Kat for your encouraging and supportive words. I will honestly say that I have had the same apprehension about composing certain subject matter. It is challenging to channel what is burning inside and allow it to escape into words on paper. But, it is also very liberating and powerful. Thank you for sharing your honesty and story. Best wishes for an inspired day 😉

  13. Hiten Vyas February 1, 2014 / 3:49 pm

    Hi Dave,

    Excellent post, indeed.

    As a blogger, I too have had a period where I was concerned with ‘likes’ and wanting to get more of them. However, I’ve realised that having many people ‘like’ my posts doesn’t carry enough meaning. I don’t really know if my posts have helped or if people blindly clicked ‘like’. These days I like to focus on producing good content that will positively impact people, as opposed to how much people have ‘liked’ or shared my posts.

    Thank you.

    • davecenker February 2, 2014 / 9:58 am

      Thank you Hiten, these are my sentiments exactly. My aim is to inspire and be inspired. I have so many other authors in the blogging world who have provided me with inspiring content. The feeling you get when something touches you at the core is special. If I am able to do that for just one other person, I smile (both inside and out). Thank you for your thoughtful comments and best wishes for an inspired day 😉

  14. lisamunro February 5, 2014 / 10:35 pm

    My blog, still in its early stages, has been so eye-opening in all of the ways you have described. I reach within myself, hopefully reach others, and grow as a result. My creativity, honesty, and vulnerability has definitely been challenged by the concept of “likes” or “followers”. When I once contemplated not posting something for fear I would alienate followers I knew with certainty it was the most important post I had written to date. I commend you for your courage and honesty. I also admire your writing. It is beautiful and powerful. Most importantly in my mind, your writing resonates.

    • davecenker February 6, 2014 / 8:09 am

      Thank you Lisa, your own story and courage to share it truly embodies what I enjoy most about writing. I have also felt the same deeply entrenched correlation between the uncomfortable rumblings inside and the necessity to hit publish shortly thereafter. I have been shown time and time again that having the courage, honesty, and vulnerability to write what tugs at you the hardest is often the thing that is also tugging at others. It is in sharing our vulnerabilities and courage that we grow as writers and as individuals. Be true to yourself and what you feel inside, it is what people need to hear because it is what is at your core. Thank you again for your wonderful insights and very kind and inspiring words. Best wishes for an inspired day 😉

  15. laura bruno lilly February 12, 2014 / 9:34 am

    “I don’t want to be liked. I don’t want to be followed. What I want is to share my story with others. And to have others share their story in turn. What I want is to make a difference, to make our lives more meaningful. Together. A click is just a click, but a single word has the power to echo in our memories forever. Like me, if you wish. Follow me, if you dare. But first and foremost, share your story.”

    A website/blog is not, after all, Facebook! Thank you for this…I personally prefer old-fashioned feedback (via comments/e-mails) helping to prime the pump for further discussion…I’m beginning to wonder if that’s outside the scope of a blog these days. I’ve been at it for about the same amount of time as yourself, so it’s interesting to read your observations on this subject.
    peace

    • davecenker February 12, 2014 / 10:44 am

      Thank you Laura for your thoughtful feedback. It is exactly these types of comments that make blogging such a valuable experience for me. It’s also a reason that it will be difficult for me to write a book. I so enjoy the feedback and immediate discussion available through this type of forum with individuals who value the same things. Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts and your story. Best wishes for an inspired day 😉

  16. Cymbria Wood March 14, 2014 / 2:51 pm

    Everything you wrote (so eloquently) in this post resonated with me. I was surprised at how quickly I too fell into the same emotional trap. Suddenly I was writing what I thought would get the most positive feedback and traffic, and letting my true thoughts and motivations fall by the wayside. One morning I realized I was actually, literally, letting my emotional forecast for the day be dictated by how much action I woke up to on my blog. “Woah!” I said to my self, totally embarrassed. At that moment I made a promise to myself not to let Likes dictate my subject matter, my sense of worth, or my emotional state. Sure, I love it when people Like me (who doesn’t), but that day I won back the freedom to tell my story without compromise – which any writer knows is really the only way our stories can give us (let alone our reader!) something back. Thanks for this post!

    • davecenker March 14, 2014 / 3:28 pm

      Thank you Cymbria, you just managed to capture the entire essence of my post in one paragraph (with quite the eloquence, I might add) 😉 At the time that I wrote this post, which wasn’t too long ago, I found it really difficult to hit the publish button, fighting the inner demons to say what I wanted and needed to say (on a side note, the Sara Bareilles song ‘Brave’ has become a sort of anthem for me).

      To be quite honest, I most likely have lost some readers from speaking what’s on my mind, but I have attracted others and, most importantly, I have remained true to myself. I still enjoy seeing the likes (we would probably all be lying if we denied this). But, in the end, it’s all about self-expression and being able to share your story with others, much like you have done through your thoughtful sentiments. I sincerely thank you. The ability to “talk” with other like-minded individuals is what makes this writing endeavor so incredibly meaningful to me.

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