I’ve always thought it would be fun to have a weekly column in a newspaper. Interesting and amusing ideas float into my head all the time. I like the challenge of fitting ideas together coherently. (Maybe this isn’t as challenging for others as it is for me). A newspaper column would give me a chance to find out if other people find those floating ideas as interesting and amusing as I do.
Blogging is like a newspaper column, except without an editor to tell you what to write, that you’ve misspelled something, that your article is too long, or that you’ve missed a deadline. Blogging is complete freedom, within reasonable boundaries. It’s only natural that I’ve been toying with the possibility of blogging ever since the word “blog” started circulating around the internet a decade or so ago.
Only one thing stopped me from trying that new blogging fad, all those years ago. Okay, two things. Three. Three things stopped me.
First, and perhaps least important, there was no money in blogging. These days, I imagine some people are profiting off of their blogs. But back in the day, bloggers spent hours (okay, minutes…seconds, at least) polishing their innermost thoughts. Then they dumped the priceless nuggets out into the internet for anyone to read and discuss (or judge, mock, or ridicule – reason #4 not to blog). And they did it for free. This did not make sound economical or psychological sense to me, back then.
Time was a much bigger reason not to blog. Sure, I could just blat out the first sentences that formed in my head and not worry too much about transitions, organization, word choice, and all that writerly junk. But who would read such a mess? And if they did read it . . . well, see reason #4 not to blog.
Writing is easy. Writing well is hard. It takes time. I have multiple jobs, multiple kids, multiple cats, a really sweet and understanding husband, and novels to write. Blogging is just a big, black hole of time.
The biggest reason I never started blogging was fear. What do I have to say that anyone else would want to read? I’d feed valuable time, creativity, and resources into my blog and the only ones reading it would be my parents (and maybe my husband, if I ask him nicely to proofread).
When you write a novel, you spend months or years without exposing your work to total strangers. During that time, you can survive off of the fantasy that, some day, an editor will love it and publish it and it will become an international best seller and be made into a movie starring Shia LaBeouf and Michael Caine and you will be a millionaire. A blog can result in instantaneous criticism (see reason #4). Worse, silence.
Total disinterest can be bad for a writer’s motivation.
With all these reasons NOT to blog, why have I just spent the entire day setting up this big, black hole of time? It goes back to the first paragraph. Writing is like a puzzle game with few boundaries and rules, where the definition of “winning” is subjective. In other words, it’s fun. And it turns out I crave feedback a little more often than every few months (or years).
So this is it: my first blog entry. Be kind.
Be there, at all.