Of all the ideas that have been nudging me the most over the past few months, the only one not represented on this blog’s subheads has been “Starting Out Blogging.” My sidebar tells me that I created and formatted this blog on May 8th, and I’ve yet to write a word of it. I don’t have any real excuse. Just the weird but undeniable sentiment that stands behind the whole reason we’re here.
Starting out is hard.
I’ve found it true with every habit and every hobby I’ve come across. When I begin, the learning curve looks pretty insurmountable. I steep myself in video tutorials, how-to library books, test runs, but the amount of information out there—and the line between amateur and professional—is only made clearer, and the further in I dive, the more it deepens.
Over the weekend, I heard friends express this same sentiment. People talked about their to-read lists just getting longer and longer. You read one book you’ve been meaning to read for ages, and then you have to read everything else by that author, or everything listed in the index, or a book that the main character kept quoting. An American friend who moved to Luxembourg a while back said that the longer she lives there and the more places she visits, the longer her travel bucket list gets.
My own example started a couple of months ago, when I started learning to “put on my face”—a phrase I find both endearingly old-fashioned and kind of terrifying if you take it too literally or psychoanalyze it too much. I had a list of things I’d have to buy, and after that, things I’d have to figure out how to do. For starters, say, learning to apply foundation and blush. But as I learned about foundation, I learned that wasn’t what I wanted at all. I had never even heard of “BB cream.” (Let’s be honest, I’d barely even heard of moisturizer.) So then I had to learn about that instead: okay, not too daunting. And maybe in the process I’d look up a few brands of concealer and other tone-adjusting products. But then, in learning about blush, I ended up watching tutorials that also mentioned highlighter, bronzer, illuminator, and primers.
So yes: it seems like as you’re checking items off, the number yet to go should be shrinking. Instead, for every question that’s answered, multiple others arise. Of course, this means that the party never stops! But this also means that the party never stops.
So, this blog: I want it to be about that feeling of starting out, diving in, opening up. I’m doing that with a lot of things right now. My most concrete new-ish hobbies are the makeup and, well, planning a wedding. Then we have habits and hobbies in which I’ve been dabbling for years, but haven’t ever gone beyond the kiddie pool: working out and health food, gluten-free cooking, sewing, crafting, and home decor. That’s a lot of territory to cover, but I think there’s a lot of overlap, especially for people my age who are, like me, “starting out.”
I told The Gentleman recently that it seems like “blogger” has come to mean “person with opinions” instead of “writer.” I am a writer, so that criticism should have been reassuring to me, but as soon as I voiced it, I felt its weight. As a reader, I have high standards for content and craft, not just ideas. This blog will change as I and my readers do, as our lists grow and our worlds spin. That’s the way of things. Now, I just have to get used to that feeling. The swiftly tilting planet, and my feet in their place atop it.