You know, a lot of bloggers have asked themselves (or their readers) this question a lot. Why do I blog? I know why I started blogging. I know why I blog now, it’s the disconnect between the two brings me here today.
I believe this to be true: writers write. We’ve all heard it, some of us live it, but I’m sure we’d be surprised at the number of people who fancy themselves a writer yet rarely take the time to sit down and engage. Perhaps perfectionism kicks in and they think that if they can’t sit down and clack away until a few pages of the next Great [Your Country Here] novel is created, why bother?
I have stories inside me waiting for their release. I know they’re there. So when I figured out how to create a blogger account (one night back in December, in a fantastic example of Putting Off Important Things - in that case gift wrapping and a trip I was loathe to take) I thought, this will be the most important tool in my toolbox. I would blog. I would write. Maybe I would post chapters, snippets of my stories in the blog.
It wasn’t until several months later that I fully succumbed to the pull of blogging, when I began writing every day. At first I wrote for me. Then for the maybe three or four friends I knew were reading. Then I discovered several great blogs, and started leaving comments (something I had never in the past done before, even though I’ve been reading a blog or two for the past three years). Then, through the blog labyrinth built by commenters and blogrolls, I found myself bookmarking thirty or so blogs, reading them, joining in on memes and linking to posts that touched me.
Without quite realizing it, I had woven myself into the outskirts of a community. I liked it. A lot. Although I stay at home with my kids, I’m far from isolated. I volunteer, I have book clubs and girlfriends and dinner clubs. But each day, when I’m home with the kids, and the phone hasn’t rang and I’m quietly going about my day, I feel a pang reminding me that I’m a social creature who craves the company of others, most especially women. I treasure my friendships, even more so as the years slip away, because I realize how rare and special each true bond is. And somehow, I’ve started to form these alliances inside the blogging world. Based on the blogs I read, comment on, and those who visit my site, I have found an astounding network of women (and the occasional man). I still feel like the girl let in to the cool sorority by accident, who marvels at the company she gets to keep.
But the tool? What about the tool? As a writer, blogging has given me a gift: it has forced me into regular, consistent writing. But. But. I do not pain myself over my word choice when I blog. I do not write, delete, write, delete, reconstruct and agonize over structure, dialogue, or where things are going. I just write. It’s not very graceful. I do put thought into my writing, but it is more stream of consciousness than Chapter Ten.
Last week I started taking time to write outside of my blog. I figured enough was enough and I needed to work on that story that would
I would no more post examples of my book on my blog than pictures of my children with their home address. I know that some bloggers do this. They talk about their book progress, they post snippets, they elicit feedback. I can’t imagine. Not only for the obvious reason of internet plagiarism and copy writing issues, but because I would feel naked. Naked while bending over and opening a tough jar of pickles.
I think that in order for me to find my rhythm with writing something outside of the blog, I will need to practice that dance, separate from my blogger moves. For me, blogging is a most spectacular warm-up with a group of friends. But in order to write, I need to go run down that trail alone. Thank God I need to warm up most days.
How about you? Does blogging help you as a writer? Does it define you as a writer? I’d really love to know.
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