I nearly abandoned this blog yesterday. A friend told me about a book that chronicles a challenge extremely similar to mine: My Year with Eleanor: A Memoir by Noelle Hancock. As I understand it, Noelle Hancock, inspired in part by Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous quote, spent a year doing one thing every day that scares her. The book sounds great and I can’t wait to read it.
I hadn’t heard of this book when I started my project, but once I did I felt like a copycat, or at least really late to the party. I felt silly for being proud, for thinking my blog was a great idea, and positive that anything I do here will pale in comparison to Noelle’s adventures. Despair.
After wallowing in failure for a few hours, a wise and wonderful friend helped me regain my perspective.
I didn’t hear about this book before starting my project, so in fact I am not copying anything. My project was inspired by the many things in my life that I believe would be better if only I were brave. I have every right to be proud. The concept for this blog is such a great idea that someone else published a book devoted to it. Noelle’s wonderful book does not make this blog any less so.
Furthermore, I never saw this blog as my ticket to a book deal. I don’t expect it ever to go viral or earn money. If I Were Brave is a way for me to overcome some fears and become
more authentic. The daily braveries are the important thing; blogging about them motivates me to keep my commitment and forces me to reflect on what I’ve done.
So, rather than slink out of the blogosphere in shame, I am going to continue. Rather than feel awkward about the similarity between my project and My Year with Eleanor, I am going to read it and, I expect, draw inspiration from it. Why not? I am sure the author hopes to inspire others with her story.
Last night, I told a few funny, well-informed, clever friends about this blog and my discovery that it is not the newest idea under the sun. I couldn’t help hearing their thoughts: That sounds lame. You aren’t doing anything impressively scary. It’s already been done before, so why bother? You don’t expect me to read it, do you?
They didn’t say any of this, of course. One kind friend even asked for the name of the blog so she could read it. They are great girls, but it felt awful to tell them. Later, after the last trace of martini left my bloodstream, I felt that vulnerable post-alcohol yearning to take it back!
But I can’t and I shouldn’t. It is important for me to try for one bravery a day and just as important for me to write about it, even if someone else has already covered this ground. Maybe it matters only to me, but it matters.