Saturday, June 23, 2012

The Blog-ness Monster

It's Day 23 of the 30-day blog challenge.  Only one more week to go, and it's been a fun adventure.  I never thought I'd enjoy blogging, but I think it's a habit I could get used to.  For several years I've had the "Slices" idea running around in my head, and I even started laying out the format for it, but it was the WriterPower blog challenge that made me jump in and actually do it. (Thanks, Elise!)

A lot of my writer friends started blogging years ago, and I was trying to avoid it for many reasons.  One was the time it takes to do it. (You could be using that time to work on a novel chapter instead.)

Also, there was the fear that I'd write something stupid and either embarrass myself or offend someone.  I had visions of strangers posting flaming comments on my site or somehow tracking me down at home and setting fire to my welcome mat.  Ok, maybe not, but you do have to be careful how you present your opinions.

I've made some important discoveries during this process.  A daily blog habit is hard to keep up, but I don't have to.  If I blog every few days, I do a lot better as far as choosing subject matter and refining it for the theme of my site.  I also have several saved ideas going at a time so that I can add to them before they get published.

In reading other peoples' blogs or writing my own, I find that the ones that are successful or kept up are the ones that have a specific theme or goal, whether it's promoting their own work or other peoples' stuff.  Or, if they write about their daily activities, they have a particular style or audience in mind.

I also find that while I have plenty of material from my own life to write about, I really enjoy promoting other people, venues, and businesses.  I heard somewhere recently, that if you focus on helping other people promote their writing, it helps your own work so much more.

For me, blogging comes from a different mindset than, say, journaling or writing on Facebook.  It's almost like I've created a slightly different persona just for blogging.  If you're journaling, it's just between you and God and you can pretty much write whatever you want - draw pictures, scribble inconsistencies, yell and swear if you need to.

When I first joined Facebook and had all these "friends," I was at a loss as to what to say.  And sometimes when I did say something, they didn't always reply.  I think I ended up throwing snowballs at people because I didn't know what else to do.  It takes a real skill to write for your FB audience because your "friends" are coming from all different parts of your life, and what you say to one group may not make sense to another group, and you really don't have a ton of space to explain yourself.  So, for FB I have a public persona that's more like the highlights of my life.

And blogging has created more of a public/personal persona - (is that an oxymoron?).  Maybe someday I'll write a more business-oriented blog with my credentials, but for now, "Slices" is about personal stuff that I wouldn't mind sharing with strangers or family.  It's been a risk, but it's also been empowering - to be able to put yourself out there in a way that you haven't been seen before.  It's also been really great to see how small observations or statements can really resonate with people.

Initially, my audience was (and still is) a handful of strangers.  (Thanks you guys!)  As each day went by, and I found out that more people were reading my blog, I felt a bit more challenged. By nature, a writer is trained to write with their audience in mind. When I imagine a particular person reading my entries, it's easy to get "constipated," so to speak, by that influence.  It's at those times, I need to step back, look at my original goals, and keep my perspective so that my writing can stay true to both my heart and mind.

Thanks everyone for listening!

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