Bring Words Of Hope - By Blogging
Revised 26th November, 2009
The article that follows was written in August 2008 when I had been blogging for little more than three weeks. For reasons which I’ll explain later (see below) I thought it worth adding to. But first, the article as it was:
A RAY OF HOPE FOR A PERFECTIONIST
Please bear with me. I’ve been an author for more than twenty-five years, but a blogger for little more than twenty-five days. Not only that, I’m a perfectionist. At least, I’m a repentant perfectionist trying hard not to lapse. I realised some years ago that, whether you’re a believer or not, only God may be called perfect, and that perfectionism in humans is a weakness not a strength.
Think about it! I did, and concluded that all those hours spent in school dressmaking classes perfecting flat-fell seams, or whatever they’re called (so that the inside of the garment looked as good as the outside) might have been better used improving my Latin results (consistently 18%). Not that I’m averse to quality. A job worth doing . . . and all that. It’s just that taking perfectionism to its nth degree means that you may never have time to do other things.
BLOGGING OPENS A NEW WORLD OF HOPES & DREAMS
Which brings me back to blogging. My daughter (eldest) won’t even read my blogs. Says she’s frightened that blogging might become addictive. She has a point. Having never, previously, had the remotest interest in the internet other than as a means of keeping in touch by e-mail, buying books on amazon (where my latest novel, A Painful Post Mortem is available if you don’t want to buy direct from me) and doing the odd bit of research, I’ve now found, to my delight, that it opens up a whole new world. Not one that I’d want to substitute for the real world: my family and friends. But nevertheless, one with real people (whom I might never otherwise have encountered) with real hopes and dreams.
BEREAVEMENT & THE HURT INSIDE
For instance, people all over the world have an ache to share the hurt inside. Like the lady, half a world away, whose son jumped to his death from a car park, leaving her his fully-paid up website of stunning photography and sombre poetry as a legacy. She wrote so movingly about the nature of pain, in a way that is bound to resonate with others going through grief and loss. In turn, I was able to share with her the story of my daughter’s sudden death, the ways in which I’ve been able to come to terms with my bereavement, and the novel I’ve written which is inspired by that experience.
This need to share the major life experiences of our existence is common to humanity – even though it may be denied freedom of expression by either the sufferer or circumstances. We ache to share our highs and lows; the hidden hurt; the unspoken dreams. It’s built in to our make-up. A state of denial, we’re told, brings us only tension and malaise.
WORDS OF HOPE
At risk of repeating myself, it was only recently, when asked what drives me, that I realised that all the books and articles I’ve written and every event at which I’ve spoken, seem to have been governed, quite unconsciously, by this urge to bring words of hope to those who are nursing a hidden hurt. I probably fail in more instances than not. But that simply spurs me on to find other means. It’s what, in my novel, one of my characters calls ‘a sticking-plaster mentality’. An inner urge to try to make the individual lives of my readers a door of hope.
It’s not about being a do-gooder. Nor is it about going out to look for people to help. It’s about being a good Samaritan to those we happen across on this journey of life. It’s about comforting others with the comfort we’ve received. It’s about being a voice for the voiceless. Bringing hope for the hurting. Addressing some of the issues in life. And addressing them in a way that doesn’t simply raise awareness of the problem, but in a way that makes at least some attempt to find solutions to it. Solutions that are not hand-outs, but are more like signposts, pointing the way to life-choices which are a way out of the ‘slough of despond’ depicted in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress by Giant Despair. As I’ve already said: a door of hope.
BRAND NAMING: WHAT DRIVES YOU?
Everything you read about these days is concerned with identifying and creating a brand. It’s the new catch phrase. The term ‘image’ is passé. Brand is the mantra of the day. So having established that my objective is to build brand hope for the hurting, I made a second discovery last week when I was asked – not WHY I blog, but WHAT I blog about. In other words, What Drives You? Quick as a flash I replied: Any subject to which I can bring a rant and a remedy. A Rant and a Remedy? I thought later. I do tend to get fired up when faced with perceived injustice or duplicity! My husband is far more phlegmatic than I. So – I rant.
But what about the remedy? I certainly don't have all of the solutions to all of the problems in life! Besides, I'm only too well aware of my own failings. But what I do have is the ability to be a conduit: a channel through which the wisdom and feats of others may be passed on.
Like the courage of the characters – real and fictional – in my books: Susan whose battle with disability was resolved through inner healing; Phil a young scientist and haemophiliac, struck down with AIDS, whose faith helped him to face death; Claire, in A Painful Post Mortem, who found forgiveness and love were the antidotes for guilt and recrimination.
I don’t know that a Rant and a Remedy entirely sums up ‘brand Mel Menzies’. But I can work with it for now. And I’d like nothing better than for you to let me know what drives you; how you’d brand yourself. If I’m to be a conduit – through this blog, or through future books – I need some feedback from you. Your wisdom to share online. Your opinions to challenge mine. Your experiences to help others.
26th November, 2009
Since writing this article, I’ve heard from a number of people who blog with a similar purpose in mind: to help to make the world a better place, in one way or another. For instance, an article I wrote more than a year after this one (October, 2009) Blogging: Does Adding Your Credentials Add Or Subtract Followers came to the notice of an American visitor, Corra, and she left several comments.
Before responding to what she had said, I visited Corra’s website / blog (as I usually do, because whenever anyone has taken the trouble to comment on my blog, I believe I owe them the courtesy of visiting theirs).
Corra had taken a Personality Test here, on my website, and discovered that, like me, she is an INFP – an Introvert (she likes ideas and an internal life); an iNtuitive (she takes in information from the world via a 6th sense rather than facts); she is Feeling (decisions are made based on the feelings of people and how they will be affected); and she operates in the realms of Perception (preferring spontaneity and open-endedness to structure and decisiveness).
Many authors fall into this category, and I shall be writing more of this in the future. But if you are a book author, writer or blogger and are a different type, I’d be really interested to hear how this influences your approach to writing. If you’d like to regular reminders of new posts, click the button on the right, or read What It Means To Subscribe.
Author of a number of books, one a No 4 Bestseller, Mel Menzies is also an experienced Speaker at live events, as well as on Radio and TV. Book her here for your event.
All proceeds from Mel’s latest novel, A Painful Post Mortem, are for charities benefiting children worldwide. Buy a copy here and help raise cash for children like Rachel, who, at 13 is mother to 6 kids orphaned by AIDS, or this project, drug-proofing teenagers in the UK