“¿Qué quiere para su desayuno?”, asked the waitress rather demurely. She hovered not more than a few inches from my face inquisitively, and I struggled to come up with a response before remembering what I wanted.
“Tortilla de Patatas, por favor”.
This was all I remembered, and it was a good thing that I liked Spanish Omelet a whole lot. But I had to ask myself the question while I was waiting for my breakfast; why have I not learnt any more Spanish seeing how I needed to know at least a passing amount of it. That was back when I was traveling through Spain on one vacation many moons ago, and Tortilla de Patatas was all I had for the better part of a week, at least at breakfast. I just didn’t learn from my mistakes, and I spoke Spanish like a four year old; I was babbling, I was disjointed and mind you, I am someone who prides himself reasonably much on his communication abilities. My Spanish was not much better than my Pig Latin, and that’s not saying much.
But in that experience, I learned something of immense value over those few passing days and no, it wasn’t Spanish. Lord knows I picked up a bit in those few days, but more than that I shed my inhibitions when it came to public humiliation. You see, one of my big phobias has to do with looking like a fool in front of a collective and I managed to get rid of that one fear. I think everyone doesn’t like to be made to like a buffoon, and I am no different. And so when I tried to make myself understood in Spanish (awkwardly, I must admit) I fumbled around a bit in a manner not much different to a gauche teenager admitting his (or her) love to another teen. The point is this; while I am proficient in my local language and then a few more, you still have to start at the very beginning when it comes to learning a new language. For a time, you will sound like a toddler.
It’s just that you will mangle a few words, jumble a few phrases and look like George of the Bungle for some time. There will be those that laugh uproariously at you, those that look at you with a genuine sense of confusion and those that call together everyone else just to see how much of a jackass you are making of yourself (yes, that has happened to me). Is there a point to all of this? I’m glad you asked; I don’t think learning to blog is any different than having to learn a language. And the important thing is that Spanish summer meant that I had no problem making a fool of myself (at the times I did) while blogging in public. The point is that in order to become a more experienced blogger you just have to learn your way around by making rookie mistakes.
I’ve published rough posts when never meaning to, used caps lock without realizing it simply because I was too lazy to proof-read, I’ve incorrectly embedded files and sent out links and sometimes I tried to get my readers into action but left out the one piece of information that would have got them to move into action. Again, it’s the same thing when it comes to selling a product or service and I ask you this; how is blogging different from having to sell a product? And all of this happens in the public eye, and every single failure teaches us something new (at least it should), even if it is something as elementary as what not to do. Know that you will fail, and know that you must plan to rebound from it. That is the only way you will learn anything and that is the only way to become a better blogger.
At least I got Spanish Omelets out of my mistakes, perhaps you’ll get more.