Doubt, scepticism and curiosity.
Doubt is the mother of curiosity.
Nothing triggers writing like a bit of doubt, I find. And I don't talk about scepticism or curiosity, but dark self-searching doubt. The kind that turns the light off so I can't find my usual upbeat self and must face my shortcomings in uncomfortable greyness, lasting from fleeting moments to days.
Or vice-versa: Suffering from writer's block? - Start doubting.
Not that I recommend permanent doubt mode - lingering agonising doubts are action blockers. But by writing through it, the unsightly doubt can change into creative curiosity.
Oftentimes there's a period of scepticism before doubt reaches curiosity. Scepticism is ok, it makes me question reality and the premises of the doubt. Then curiosity takes over - my magical inspiration-trigger.
Writing about doubts can act as therapy as well. Sometimes I find that airing and sharing doubts simply make them go. Poof - they vanish like trolls in sunlight.
Let me share the "doubt of the day". Mind you, I'm not always posting my doubts but the following well illustrates my point. Last weekend, this blog received a "badge of achievement" from the Successful-blog and I went through curious, thrilled, annoyed, sceptical and surprised, but not quite in that order. Here the cute badge:
Doubt of the day:
"How is it possible that my obscure little blog can be picked up in a search by a big blogger?"
You may be well aware of Liz Strauss, her SOB blog and it all? I, however, wasn't; I've not been that active in the blogosphere lately. Naturally, I was sceptical. I'm not posting very often, my blog has very few readers and linked by only a handful; which makes it all the more suspect that it should be found. I looked for explanations; either my blog just matched certain search criteria, or the lady was all fluff, which after just a few mouse clicks I could see she wasn't:
From Huffington Post's list of 10 most influential bloggers in 2011:
"Liz Strauss, Founder of Successful Blog and CEO, SOBCon. Strauss is a social web strategist and one of the most thoughtful, prolific bloggers on the planet. Her blog posts on leadership and life garner tens of thousands of comments. A teacher and community builder at heart, Strauss is all about interconnectedness, bringing great people and great ideas together. The blogosphere is her classroom, although she hosts an annual high touch summit where as she says, "the virtual meets concrete" bringing top bloggers together to share their influence."
Believe me, Liz Strauss is on several "influencer-lists", and by now I had more than overcome my initial doubt about "all fluff". Impressed by Liz's untiring follow-ups on comments, I also related to her words and topics. She's for real, ok!
Another doubt set in now that I knew she was of substance - even a real blog-star. Instead of patting my shoulder saying "Well done, Tittin, your efforts are seen, good for you!" the little devil in the department of scepticism asked: What kind of lousy search criteria do they use? What's 'wrong' with their judgement ('her'/team) since they consider your stuff readable? Or even worse; was it just enough to be on my husbands blog list?
See the scepticism? It slowly turned to curiosity; a far better place to be.
Have you noticed how curiosity opens doors? Doors to new ways of thinking, seeing learning, new sources. New People!
At this point I had gone through a series of reactions; I'm visual and like lists, see how doubt, scepticism and curiosity developed through the different stages:
- Being noticed - finding out - hurrah, happy
- Wondering by whom - unfamiliar source - sceptical
- Researching source - impressive content, authentic - in awe
- Wondering why - no evident link - DOUBT sets in
- Reading up on source - fascinated, starting to connect - curiosity wins over doubt
- Reading a post - first click: "How Curiosity builds business", surprised at synchronicity - completely connecting
- Writing about it - adding button to blog - feeling accomplished
(Actually, I didn't mention a whiff of annoyance at feeling found but not read, because that petty troll vanished when curiosity took over.)
Doubt may be a good trigger for plain writing but curiosity is what leads to change, to possibilities. Curiosity made me read Liz's blogs where I found new interesting thoughts to mull over.
The good feeling of connecting in the blogosphere surfaced again. Eventually I did allow myself to be lifted; feeling comfortable, inspired, connected and with new angles for my ever darting curiosity. Curiosity about what drives us.
But, had it not been for the initial self conscious doubt I would never have started this line of thought.
And, had it not been for Liz Strauss' blog I would most likely not have posted for a long time still, so I'm ever grateful, both for being "seen" and having my airing and sharing nerve triggered.
So, thank you Liz! This was a wake up call on many levels; two days later inspiration struck. I'm working on a new series of prints, "Delft Dreams". Right now I'm struggling with the first collection, "Victoria's Secrets". A good struggle.