On blogging: My trip so far

I started this blog over a year ago.  There have been weeks that I’ve posted nearly everyday, and months (even two in a row) when I haven’t posted at all.  My topics have been all over the place and have included:

All along, trying to figure out what this blog is all about, what it means to me, what purpose it serves in my life, wondering if it could possibly mean something to anyone else.

I’ve been distracted (rightly or wrongly) by:

  • My family life
  • Efforts at “real” non-blog writing through taking various writing classes
  • Time spent feeling badly about myself for not being able to sit down and write a book now that I finally have everyone in school (aka as “shoulding all over myself”)
  • My own self-consciousness (who am I to have a blog?)
  • Technical difficulties
  • Looking around at popular blogs with huge readership and advertising and/or gorgeous design and feeling small and not good enough
  • Trying to figure out how (and if) to use social media to promote my blog (which can be time-consuming and frustrating when you’re learning.  I am a Twitter misfit)
  • Checking my stats compulsively after posting

A post today by Nina Badzin gave me pause.  She wrote about admitting to herself that she is not (at the moment), an aspiring novelist, but a blogger (and a darned good one at that).  Blogging in itself has been satisfying to her, helped her define her voice, resulted in connecting her with like-minded people, provided her with a platform to write and be read.  She’s thinking, maybe it’s even enough.

I must confess that I entered the blogosphere sheepishly, with the belief that somehow blogging was not the same as, and less than, “real writing”.  Over time, I’m discovering that blogging is kind if its own genre and that some people are really good at it.  Some people are really good at constructing novels or researching and composing historical fiction.  Blogging requires its own set of skills, talents, need for voice, a strong committment, a working knowledge of social media, not to mention some technical knowledge.  What it shares with “real” writing is that no one cares if you stop writing your memoir or posting on your blog.  It must be, along with a dose of discipline, driven by your need to write.   And as Anne Lamott reassures repeatedly, if you stick with it, you will see over time, that truly, the writing is the reward.

Sitting down and writing a post is always, without fail, its own reward.  I am always surprised to find out what I think once I start writing, and how good it feels to hunker down into my writing muscles to tell it.  Lamott is right.

I have been fortunate enough to get some really lovely feedback from readers (you small but devoted bunch I am so appreciative). Recently, at a community event, I introduced myself to a neighbor I’ve never met, who absolutely stunned me by saying, “I just love your blog.  I don’t really read blogs, but I read yours.”  After I thanked her for making my day, my year, my life, I walked around elated.  It may seem shallow or besides the point, what we’re not supposed to be focused on, but there it is.  A damned close second-place-runner to the reward of writing:  Someone actually reading what you wrote.

What do you think about the relationship between blogging and writing?  Have any of you had the same conflict?

8 thoughts on “On blogging: My trip so far

  1. I love this. First of all, I love your blog. But what you ask today is salient for me, because quite recently I abandoned some long-held dreams and goals. I decided I wasn’t going to try to publish my memoir. I’m not sure how I feel about my novel. Truthfully I think I’m only writing it to stay in the writing class with my idol. What I really love is blogging. Accepting that has been both deeply sad and a huge relief. xox

  2. I’m so happy to have inspired this post. (and it’s a great post)

    Don’t you just love lamott? She’s our cheerleader. I finished Some Assembly Required last month. LOVED. I prefer her non-fiction to her fiction. I guess that’s my theme today–non-fiction!

    I can relate to that amazing feeling when someone you hardly know tells you they read the blog or liked a post. I SO appreciate the readers out there I meet on Twitter and on other blogs. But there’s something extra special about a NON-blogger saying they like your blog since non-bloggers don’t always read blogs.

    Keep going! Now “should be doing” all over yourself now!

  3. Blogging helps you take that HUGE step of not only getting your thoughts on paper but also sharing them with others. That’s real writing in my book.

  4. I’m not sure what I think about the relationship between blogging and other kinds of writing. I love good blogs like yours — so human and in-the-moment and I agree that I always discover something new in writing the blog posts (when I blog), but other times I wonder if it’s sort of to “too satisfying” in the sense that it takes all my writing energy and doesn’t leave any left for other kinds of writing which maybe do offer something that blogging doesn’t — a permanence, a depth? I really don’t know. I’m so glad you asked this question. I’ve never thought about it in quite this way. And, I LOVE your blog. So, selfishly, I hope you keep blogging.

  5. Erin, I am not a writer or a blogger, but I enjoy your blog and think that blogs can be considered “real writing.” In this day and age, when there are no more real barriers to anyone “publishing” one’s own writing (or photography!) we have to be our own curators of what’s worth our own consideration on a daily basis. Your writing is worth it to me and if you keep writing I will keep reading. If this gives you joy and fills you up, then there is no reason to aspire to anything seemingly loftier. After all, wasn’t it Hemingway who was master of the short story? Can’t knock him, eh?

  6. Erin, I love what you write, and create, and curate (love that verb Deborah Lowery Knapp). I went back to your “About Me” section of this blog and the part about the toddler at the market with the old lady’s remarks…..Your own way of holding on to things and communicating them thru this blog is wonderful, and I will read it as long as you write it.

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