Or, how I can write a lot but say very little.
Blogging started as “web logging,” i.e. writing a personal diary on the internet. Merriam-Webster has “blog” defined as “an online personal journal with reflections, comments, and often hyperlinks, videos, and photos provided by the writer. From: Weblog. First known use 1999.” I started this blog in 2004, in the beginning of the boom.
But I also kept a pen-and-paper journal and still do. I try to write at least one full page every day. Journaling was a very intermittent practice for me until I came upon Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. In working through that book, I fulfilled its requirement of writing 3 pages of stream-of-consciousness each and every day for 90 days. The point oof that exercise is to create a daily writing habit and to let go of one’s inner editor. I did the 90 days and kept on. That was at least 7 years ago. Now I rarely skip a weekday and often write on weekends, too. I’ve changed the requirement from 3 pages to 1 page (minimum). My journal (no-one calls them “diaries” anymore) is a repository for all my anger and frustrations. It helps me to be a more pleasant person.
Blogs were accessible most easily by a web browser. Blogging’s popularity grew as web browsers did. Soon mainstream media began trawling blogs for publishable content. The personal essay boom was born. People, mostly women, were being paid to tell their most heinous and personal stories for clicks (and sometimes ~very little~ money).
Not once have I worked any of the journal pages into a personal essay for mainstream media. I’m sure I could sell some pieces. I’ve thought about it. At the end of the day, the trust of the people around me and my desire to avoid backlash keep me from doing it.
“What about Twitter, Facebook, etc?” you may ask. True, I do post quite a bit on social sharing sites, but those posts are short and they fly by, soon lost in the deluge of sputterings from everyone else on the planet. They’re disregarded like crappy fortunes from stale cookies. Media sites like Buzzfeed aren’t so disposable. The internet is forever, as they say. Having a piece follow me around after I’ve grown past it sounds like a nightmare. Tweets do come back to haunt once in a while, but it seems the zeitgeist is more willing to forget them than an essay plastered on a big news site. Plus, I don’t tweet much of substance. Facebook and Twitter for me are love-hate entities. They provide me with much-wanted human interaction but also bait me into skirmishes and lead me down rabbit holes. (For Inktober’s prompt today, “Bait,” I drew their logos along with YouTube’s).
My reluctance to share any “real deal” stuff is based in my love of privacy, something of which I had very little growing up. Blogging daily, even for a month, is a challenge to that preference. Each time I blog I am reminded of the backlash against women for their personal essays, or how inadvertent branding can dog a person for a long time. I’m not a fan of those prospects. So I write about myself without really writing much. I try to add value. Sometimes. Most of the time. But I try to do it without directly talking about my family, my politics or my preferences.
Blogging daily (something I’ve never done for more than a week) is bound to produce some less-than-valuable posts, perhaps posts more akin to the throw-away thoughts on Twitter. I’ll do my best to avoid that, but the point of #Blogtober doesn’t seem to be value as much as volume. So volume it is. I’ll try to make the reads worth it. You never know. I may slip and reveal a personal factoid in my rush. A reader can only hope.
Image by Jess Watters from Pixabay Image by Christine Cavalier