What is a blog for? What is my blog for?
Three years ago (yikes!), my writing friend Dave sent me a link to set up this blog, with the explanation “a blog is a commitment to write.” Dear reader, you would laugh if you read my spiral-notebook journal: when I write to me, I rarely finish anything and I mostly rant and whine, or I write long descriptions of the place where I am sitting. I write myself into nowhere, often. My journal holds a few exciting flashes, but nothing like the pieces I write here. When I write with a sense of audience (you), I write a letter. I think of a dozen people I love and I write with a purpose, with eyes and ears open to gratitude. I find I have stories when I write for other’s ears. I begin and end sentences and I avoid muttering. Writing clarifies, crystallizes thoughts and feelings for me, and there’s joy in it.
This blog, then, has been my school of writing, a first step beyond writing letters. I joked at the beginning about writing “for me and my six friends,” but now there are a number of readers who check in with me regularly. Several readers link to me on their own blogs. I enjoy sending people here to find my stories—though I do need to weed a bit from the archives.
As an MFA student, now I’m in a different school of writing with some different (um, enormous) requirements. One of the cautions offered by respected faculty mentors is the caution about “sending ‘work’ out before it’s ready.” When Dave suggested a blog initially, he cautioned, too, “treat it like a publication.” Revision and polishing are not my strong points as a writer, and I’m often eager to post what is going on right this minute. I err on the side of sharing too much. So my blogging—which has been my writing strength—is now a potential weakness, at least as a student in a masters program in creative writing.
You, dear readers, have been my writing strength and continue to be so. I write with your ear in mind. Want to help me wrestle with this?
Rightly, my respected and affectionate advisors suggest blogging might detract from “serious” writing. There’s the “before it’s ready” temptation. In addition, I currently work-for-pay online, so it’s possible to spend way too much time on the internet (which I can do without even looking at my blog) instead of “serious writing.”
But on the other hand, there’s you. I gotta confess, here—I’m not losing this blog. That’d be crazy. I have readers! Writers need readers. The respected and affectionate folks mentioned above want me to do my very best, but no one is absolutely insisting that I ditch my wonderful blog. (I call it wonderful because you are here, not because I am enamored of all-things-me.) I’m in the process of “holding” my writing longer, revising and polishing and asking for professional feedback. That’s why I’m posting less frequently. And (sigh) that’s why I’m not posting my “best” writing. This is not an easy change for me.
I’m jealous of my blogging friends who get a zillion responses to each written post, and sometimes I wonder why I don’t get more comments. I hope I’ve not put you to sleep.
I wish I had a guest book! Would you like to weigh in? To sign in? I know some readers read my posts via RSS feeds, so I don’t get to see your visits on my sitemeter. Would you like to say “hi” to remind me you are here? Any insights on this question? What is my blog for?