It might be because I was drunk, but on Wednesday night I had one of the best conversations of my life.
We had been trying to meet up with Sharon since after the wedding, and I’d heard so much about her that I was pleased when we finally managed to agree on a date.
Sharon and I had only been briefly introduced at her birthday party a couple of years ago. She is one of Giac’s mum’s oldest friend, so I felt fairly conscious of what I was wearing (an old woollen sweater that’s been used as a pyjama top more often than not) and very much regretting having shaved my head the night before.
But Sharon arrived, and she said she liked my haircut, and we hugged and I felt instantly at ease.
We went to a pub where she offered us wine and some nibbles. Giac is pretty much a second son to her, so they started off catching up straight away.
From not being directly involved in the conversation, it took me moments before I realised that my head was full of all the wrong thoughts, and not just about my hair and my sweater – about everything.
I listened to her talking and loved the way she hinted at her despise for all the things boring. Her life sounded so full of excitement and projects and ideas and never, ever boring. I was thrilled.
We chatted about her jobs and her family until she turned to me and asked, And how about you?
I felt slightly intimidated by such a broad question, and I ended up blabbering about how I can’t wait to move to New Zealand. At that point she enquired what I want to do there, whether I wanted to stay in Publishing or what else. I automatically replied that my dream career would be to be a blogger, and immediately realised how unsuitable of an answer that was. I quickly tried to add more details in order to make it sound like a serious career choice, but the truth is 1. I don’t really know where this blogging thing is going and 2. I don’t feel one bit confident in telling people I want to be a blogger. So I said what I always say: that it’s a very hard career path because everyone’s is a blogger nowadays and you need you be original in order to stand out.
Sharon kept her eyes on me throughout my blushing and frantic efforts to sound professional. Then she said, You don’t need to be original. You need to make your style your style.
She went on to explain how everything is about practice. What do I want to talk about? Books, travels, and vegan food. Well, everyone writes about that. Everyone writes about the same stuff. What makes the difference is that no one’s view is the same as anyone else’s. We all see things differently, and that’s the whole point. Nobody is going to see New Zealand the way I’m going to see New Zealand.
Write about one little thing every day, Sharon told me. Practice and practice. That’s how you’re going to achieve it. Write about the reflection of light on a window –except don’t, because that’s boring.
Humans are so individual, but they are also so incredibly universal. So it is possible to write about you, but to address many other people at the same time. Ultimately, anything you write is going to be about you anyway. But isn’t it the best feeling when you read an author who writes so profoundly that it feels like they’re talking to you and no one else?
This is why I realised I’m doing it all wrong. I started this blog wanting to write things that I read on other blogs, thinking they were “trendy”, that they were what other people wanted to read about. But that’s exactly the reason why I’m not updating. This is not what I want to write about. It doesn’t come natural and I have to remind myself to come in here and update.
Also, I no longer want to be ashamed of telling people what my dreams are. I love writing. I’ve been writing since I can remember, and I used to think I was good at it. I am aware of the fact that I’m a bit rusty at the moment (haven’t been keeping it up in a while), but I know I have this in me, and it’s all about practice after all, isn’t it? I do want to be a blogger and I want to be proud of it.
After we hugged Sharon goodbye, I got on the tube with my book open on my lap but couldn’t read. I smiled at strangers. Again, this could have been the wine. I looked around and started to notice things, little details. The wrinkles of a man’s jacket pressed against the glass, the hairs slipping out of a girl’s ponytail.
I’ve always been an observer but I tried to concentrate more on how I would describe those things. I felt so inspired.
So this blog is not going to be about recipes, how-to lists or monthly favourites. This blog is going to be about how I see things.