Stretching into the Dream of Travel Blogging

It’s the summer. I said I was going to pursue this freelance writer thing. It’s been almost a month, and I’ve written one story that wasn’t technically freelance because I’m employed part-time by Annenberg Media, where the work was published.

In a previous post, I talked about the plan to have no plan for my future as a travel writer. Just get out there and get it done—whatever it is. Truth be told, I’ve been a little overwhelmed with ‘whatever it is’.

“To learn anything, we have to leave the comfort of the known for the awkwardness of the untried,” writes This Year I Will. . . author, M.J. Ryan. “And we must accept our ineptness as the price of beginning, trusting that, like adolescents, we’ll grow out of that awkward stage and blossom into mastery if we just hang in there.”

I’ve been reading Ryan’s book about sticking to goals and ensuring we see results a few pages at a time for about a month. Today’s chapter, “It’s Going to Feel Awkward at First,” really hit home in the travel writing aspect.

I feel I should be perfect at everything upon first attempt. The Ramble has fallen victim to this thinking as I’ve wondered if certain posts are travel-related or quality enough to have a place here. I’ve been terrified I’m going to graduate with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and realize it’s all been this dream that people were just too kind to say, “Look, kid! You’re just not cut out for this writing thing.”

I don’t have it all figured out, and I’m just modest enough to forget that plenty of bloggers who do the ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ thing are likely in the same boat. Even if they feel insecure about their new undertakings as travel bloggers seeking something–sponsors for gear, trips, perhaps just followers—they just aren’t going to tell you that.

So it was helpful when Ryan explained there are three zones when working toward a goal: the comfort zone of the normal routine, dreaming about a goal; the stretch zone in which we take steps toward that goal; and the stress zone–the ultimate challenge we’re working toward.

I must remember that while I’m fine-tuning things on this blog, and while you’re fine-tuning yours, it’s going to be awkward. We’re going to be too concise or not concise enough. Our content isn’t going to be ground-breaking or highly original. Photos will be imperfect, over-saturated or under-exposed. We might not know where a post fits or if it does at all and thus may miss with our audience—if we have one at all.

But every post is a step out of the comfort zone and into the stretch. We fine-tune how to approach the stress zone dream. One day, after tons of fun stretching, that dream will become our stretch zone and we’ll want bigger things.

For now, I’ll remind myself about an Instagram post I discovered the other day.

“I refuse to live the same year 90 times and call it life,” the caption said. And if I don’t put one foot in front of the other with this goal, that is exactly what I’ll end up doing.

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