Saturday, September 29, 2007

poll

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?

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your BLOG is for those of us who enjoy hearing about what is going on in your life as you write it... I sometimes check in to read you daily, and am always thrilled to see new posts, no matter the size or content! I like how you write! I like knowing what you are struggling with! I like that I knew you back in the old days of CCO! I'll keep looking, and will enjoy whatever time you have in posting!

Holly in Ohio

K.G. Schneider said...

I completed an MFA and blogged the whole time--just very selectively. That's become a (good) habit.

Rock in the Grass said...

Hi D
your blog is a site of refreshment: like Holly, I enjoy hearing about your life. And I enjoy the quality of your writing. And you inspire me.
Please do not worry about how weel you think it is finished - just keep us in touch with you.
Pete G

Folly Cove Fiber Freaks said...

Hi Denise,
I will "visit" regularly from now on.
And, yes, we are going to do another fiber day.

jennifer h said...

Denise,
I don't stop by as often as I would like because I always want to stay here a while. I enjoy your writing and learning about your life now. I encourage you to keep up with the blogging in a more selective way. You can leave the unprofessional, just for the heck of it blogging up to the likes of me.

Robin in Colorado said...

Hi Denise -- It's your old schoolmate, Robin. I love reading your blog and guess I am lax in commenting on them though. Keep up that comfortable and creative writing style.

:o)

Panhandle Jane said...

Many, many professional writers keep journals. Admittedly, some journal material is too personal to post on a blog, but the journal is also a way to record observations and to try out ideas that might not be suited to a longer piece. I don't see much difference between that kind of journal entry and blog entries. Think of this blog as a journal with feedback. The most important tool in developing writing ability is writing itself. Until you do that, editing and revision cannot happen.

I was reflecting this morning on technological change and how it has affected instruction. Can you guess what I do for a living? When I was in elementary school, I can remember having to learn to write with fountain pens because those ballpoint things were just not going to produce the same quality of handwriting and thinking.

Jenny Hillebrand said...

I'm also still here. Please do keep blogging! You bring the 'special' out of everyday life and it is inspirational! Also you can maybe measure market appeal by what earns comments? I'm still new at this, so also trying to figure it out.