The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. And snakes. They can move but they don’t have legs…that’s the devil. This month’s Monthly Wine Writing Challenge has the prompt: Fear. This led me to ponder: what am I afraid of? Of course this is supposed to be about wine and I realized that there is a perfect intersection.
I am afraid of a couple things and I suppose this is as good of a time as any to confess. As many of you know, I am a lettuce breeder. I spent a lot of time in university and gathered a couple degrees in order to do this job. But, after a few years of doing this job while simultaneously becoming more and more interested in wine, I am starting to think that perhaps this isn’t what I really want to do with my life and maybe I want to move into the wine industry in some regard. That idea scares the hell out of me because…now what? Do I try to find work in the vineyards which would lend itself well to my degrees? Will I end up hating that in a few years? My biggest fear is that I’ll be wrong again. But, this fear has layers to it. Taking your hobby, even if it is your passion, and turning it into something that HAS TO provide for you can be incredibly difficult and also can totally taint your view of something that you once loved. Honestly, my dream would be to have a shop that had local wine and produce and be able to have a back room that hosted dinners where I could showcase wineries or farmers once or twice a month (investors welcome). I could write on the side, meet people from all over, and hopefully turn people on to things they wouldn’t have otherwise tried. It seems so perfect, in theory, but is that actually tangible? It probably doesn’t help that a lot of the lettuce fields I am visiting sit nestled at the base of the fabled Santa Lucia Highlands. In a perfectly accurate metaphor to my life as a whole, there I am toiling away in the lettuce fields with vineyards so close that I can throw a rock to them but for some reason I haven’t found a way to end up in them. It’s tough. And I think the thing holding me back most is fearing the unknown of a new industry and if that is the right decision for my life.
It’s hard to gauge. Starting this blog seemed like a natural progression of my continued journey tumbling down the rabbit hole of wine. I always enjoyed writing and I wanted to kind of get my feet wet into the wine world before I totally jumped into the industry in any form. But this blog has exposed a lot of fears that have been lurking beneath the surface of my snarky exterior. What if I’m not any good? What if no one likes what I have to say? What if I can never find my voice? What if I end up not liking this either and the hope I cling to to perhaps get away from lettuce one day evaporates and I am back to square one? The fear will make you go nuts, people. I suppose I have seen some minuscule success in the blogging world. I have picked up some followers and gotten some good feedback. The realization I came to was this: no matter what you do, if you are passionate about it and believe in yourself, your audience will find you. I have realized that I started this blog because it makes ME happy and if it can also bring something positive to others then that’s a bonus. I really wrestle with it. It’s one of the most challenging things I have done in my life. To consistently be creative not only in prose but also in photos and content. The fear of my limits is also something I have struggled with on this blog. I will be the first to admit that the things that I DON’T know about wine, could fill the library of congress. But, I haven’t aimed this at the expert. I came to the conclusion that fearing my own knowledge limits when it comes to wine or beer or anything else I talk about on here, is exactly the spirit of this blog in that I want to dispel some of the fear people might have toward food and drink that would keep them from trying something by sharing what I do know. If I was an expert, I don’t think I could write this blog in the way I want to write it. Sometimes ignorance pays off I guess. And it goes without saying that I am always trying to expand my knowledge of fine food and drink.
Even this writing group has generated a little fear in me. If you wander around the wine blogging world you will notice there are a lot of these groups of people all sharing ideas and writing under a common theme. It’s good because it’s challenging and you make friends. But, for someone like me who only blogs once a week (hoping for more soon), it can be deadly. I write because I like it and I think I have a voice people can connect with. If I was so inclined, I could participate in a challenge like this or a themed blog prompt every time I posted. But then I wouldn’t be generating my own content, would I? So where is the middle ground? That is the fear that I have been battling. How do I continue to challenge myself and make contacts with other bloggers who I respect and that challenge me, without completely ceding my blog to the whims of the more seasoned blogging community. I am afraid of losing my original goals just to gain some content ideas. I guess it is a fine line to walk and everyone has to find their personal comfort with it. As much as I love the MWWC, if I end up being a spotty participant, you’ll understand why.
I reckon this blog is a little less about wine and more about the wine blogger, but you have all heard me drone on about wines, beers, and liquors plenty of times. The reality is, life isn’t always as easy as hanging out and enjoy good wine. Someone’s gotta pay for it. I guess the only wrong thing to do would be to let the fear get the better of me.