It can be an overwhelming prospect to start a project or website of your own on the internet. It doesn’t matter what field of interest you wish to pursue, chances are that there are already thousands, if not millions, of others doing something very similar to what it is that you wish to accomplish. Many would look upon this gigantic canvas of faces, each speaking or shouting to be heard, to have their voices stand out from the crowd, and wonder why they should even bother trying to carve out their own little piece of the puzzle that is the digital community. Some might spend hours of their time trying to figure out exactly what it is they think they could bring to the gathering. And there are those who would stampede into the herds headfirst as they furiously attempt to acclimate to their new environment by throwing themselves and their work onto the canvas and may judgement and criticism be damned!
So what happens when you are standing on the diving board staring into the vast ocean of writers, filmmakers, bloggers, vloggers, artists, documentarians, musicians and creators of all things magnificent and unique in their own individual way? Do you dip your toe in the sea to test the waters? Do you swim in the shallow end as you try to find your footing? Or do you dive in and allow yourself to be consumed by the waves of curiosity, the seas of self-realisation and the oceans of the enigmatic and the ever-blue expanse of endless forms of entertainment, artistry and culture.
I’d say that ultimately it should not matter how far or how deep you wish to allow yourself to be consumed by the sea, just go for it and jump in. You are not alone. Even if you struggle to sway against the tide, there are so many who will come to your aid and help you to learn how to swim.
Since I recently made the decision to take the plunge myself I have found myself on the receiving end of praise, support and an overwhelming feeling of belonging to a community of people who understand what I am going through and know what it is to contribute, not only for themselves but for others also. From kind comments to people who praise my contributions as they pass by, I am and will continue to be thankful for how welcome and supported I have felt and still feel now. I do not even have a problem with most forms of criticism as the likelihood is that it would be constructive and helpful rather than demeaning and disheartening. If you have questions, there are answers. If you have doubts, there are places to look for assistance and inspiration. If you just want to add your voice into the conversation, I guarantee there are those who are willing to listen.
The digital world is not an open field full of walled off castles where people try their best to conquer and control the fates of their enemies. It is true that there are some cutthroat bastards who value profit and popularity over community and good will. But for the most part, those of us who dwell here are willing to lower the drawbridge, open the gates and welcome all who wish to enter. Growth and the environment to thrive are assets lauded by those of us who seek to support and nurture each other. My own work is just one example that has seen improvement just because I have ingratiated myself into our digital community.
Yes, there are those who like nothing more than to skim read or view a person’s hard work to try to find that one little piece of thread that they can twist in their own minds into something crude or worthless to the overall equation. They will try to pull at it until they produce the equivalent of digital excrement just to get even the slightest feeling of what they perceive to be some sort of accomplishment or satisfaction in their pitiful minds to fuel their own feelings of inadequacy or boredom. But these folks are few and should not serve as a deterrent to those of you still questioning your capabilities. Battling against adversity and a determination to continue, especially against the ignorant few, are qualities to be commended and expanded upon. Those who forge ahead with an iron will can get far, but you can find kindling in the support of your peers and fellow creators to refuel the embers of your fire when doubt sets in. Please allow yourself to add something to our community if that is what you truly want to do.
So to you kind souls of the digital communities of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and most especially that of WordPress, you have my gratitude. To Vicki and Oghren, Jodie, Ant, my friends and family on Facebook, kind strangers of Twitter, content creators of YouTube like Cory Williams (It’s a beautiful day here…) and the guys at ROST (It’s good for you!) as well as the many of you here on WordPress (see the Forge Community section) who I wish I could thank individually for your support – thank you for making my journey so far an enlightening and uplifting as well as an entertaining one. I have had no regrets since I first lit the fires of the Forge not long ago and I hope to be able to continue not just dwelling, but also excelling within the depths of my reverie.
So take care and my deepest apologies (lol deep – I’m still doing it!) for all of the swimming in the sea references (and now I want to play Bioshock), ironically I cannot actually swim myself – TWIST ENDING!!
Forged From a grateful Reverie.
Cover photograph provided by Anthony Nicholas.