Saturday, March 27, 2010

to blog or not to blog

I blog every day. The only time I've missed posting since I started last October was when I was on a cruise ship over Christmas break and didn't have access to wifi. But, as soon as I was back home, I was back in the blogging saddle, not ending my day until I had at least something concrete up to mark the spot.

Someone just sent me a blog post she'd written about why she feels people blog. She's not in the every day camp and some of her statements came off, at least to me, as slightly judgmental. Then again, I err on the side of sensitivity. But, her thoughts and opinions made me stop and think about why I do this every day.

In an interview I did before FLOW came out, someone asked me what my writing practice was. I had no answer because I didn't have a regular writing practice. This was my 11th book and in all this time I've only written to sell a project and then to see it through. I've never taken a writing class. I went to art school where papers were rarely required. I've worked as a graphic designer most of my adult life and communicate through images, layouts, color, as well as text. And up until now, I've been loathe to call myself a writer even though I've put all these written projects out into the world. I'm very good at minimizing what I do. Making it sound like it's not a big deal. Hiding behind the concept of stay-at-home mom who squeezes out moments here and there to make things happen.

That's not the truth. Every one of my projects has consumed me (yes, even Chunks). I'm a perfectionist and have worked through every word, every phrase, every image when I was lucky enough to art direct as well as conceptualize and write. I create logos for proposals, have designed each one to jump off a submission pile and make some have to look. How my work looks is easy for me. The writing's always been the hard part, the struggle. Crafting words, sentences, paragraphs to say exactly what I want them to is the opposite of effortless. And never having established writing as a routine felt like it was holding me back.

So, I made a commitment to blog for 40 straight days. Just for the continuity and practice. I found though, after those first days, sitting at my laptop, not getting sentences to work together, struggling to think of something pithy and meaningful to write about, that I was finding my voice. And as time went on I was uncovering parts of me I'd fought to keep hidden. Writing every day has often been cathartic. Eye-opening. Soul-wrenching. Painful. Joyful. Annoying. Frustrating. I've pissed people off. I've connected people who don't know each other. My words have resonated with my closest friends and people I've never met. My experiences are so often universal and I'm consistently blown away from the strangers who write and share.

Blogging every day is not always easy. It's often a pain in the ass to stick with. But, at this point, I appreciate the diligence and am proud of myself for continuing to hone this part of myself that I've kept hidden for far too long.


Lisa Adams said...

Not sure why you felt that post was judgmental: You tossed out a very interesting question, which I thought about for a week and applied to my own feelings about blogging.

Considering one of your own blogs within the last 2 weeks basically said you thought you had reached the end of your daily blogging "I don't think I have anything to say anymore," March 14), it's no wonder a reader might be confused about your thoughts on the subject of even your own daily blogging.

Personally, I think the subject is a very interesting one, I was really glad you opened up that question for discussion. I agree it certainly DOES depend on your motives for blogging. That was the whole point of my piece.

I would have hoped it would have been a meta- discussion on why bloggers blog, and what they get from it. Sorry you didn't take it that way.

LPC said...

I admire you for blogging every day. I find my blog is consuming me as it is, and I write now less frequently than when I started. Not because I have less to say, but because I've taken on the idea that I owe some usefulness to my readers. You do that with your books, I imagine, so your blog can just be whatever you like. Still not easy to write every day. To publish something every day.

Charlotte Rains Dixon said...

Selfishly, I love that you blog every day because I enjoy reading your posts. I recently set myself the goal of writing a blog post every week day and as you say, somedays it is a pain in the ass. But most days it sets me thinking in a way no other writing practice does. The closest thing that has ever come to it for me is journal writing but that doesn't have an audience. And it turns out I like me an audience. Thanks for writing on this topic, which caused me to think more about it.