There are people who believe that not only is blogging a waste of time, it is also a self-absorbed and egoistic pastime. Bloggers who write about their lives and post it for the world to read must be rather conceited and self-involved. It is offensive that people would share quite personal things about themselves online and it’s stuff that people really need to keep to themselves or just close friends or family. The critics of blogging grimace at blogs and express disgust at the time invested and mentality that must be behind posting aspects of your life online.
Sometimes I feel the beginning of fear, of being overwhelmed by doubt, when I hear this argument. Oh god, I think. What have I done? I must be crazy to have written some of the things I have, for anyone and everyone to read. Have I exposed myself? Will this come back to bite me in the ass someday? Am I being conceited or self-absorbed? Should I stop this altogether?
But even as fear and doubt wash over me, I know I probably will not stop anytime soon. Even if friends think less of me, I will not take it down. The question I ponder then is, why do I do this? What is my motivation?
My husband kept an online journal years before I started one. I loved to read his entries. When he was far away during his year in Germany, I knew I could log on the computer and read his newest entry, be carried along by his words and feel close to him. I never considered having one of my own. I didn’t know what I would ever write about. I didn’t think I could cultivate a voice or writing style of my own.
Then, for some reason and with Steve’s encouragement, I started one. I discovered that it was second nature. I discovered a natural flow of inspiration that strikes every few days and gets me immersed in creating an entry. I love doing it.
One of the main benefits I discovered was that it is therapeutic. Writing is my most natural and comfortable mode of expression. I find my voice, I express myself. I am swept along by rhythm, energy, discovery and insight.
Yes, I could do this in a private sphere- I could keep a personal journal and not be so presumptuous as to put it on a public forum. However, one of the most therapeutic aspects of this exercise has been expressing myself to the world. To friends and family who read it regularly, to the person who stumbles on it by chance. My hearing loss has often confined me to a prison of silence and marginalized me in social spheres when I longed for the spotlight and when I wished to be part of things. My blog is my spotlight. I can express myself and people can get to know me.
Just by knowing that my friends and family are reading it, I feel closer and more connected. I know that the people who read my blog regularly care about me. I know that at one point or another I have surprised and intrigued my friends and family through this blog. Many times I have surprised myself. And maybe I have touched someone who can relate to my thoughts or experiences.
This is what brings me back and keeps me writing, whereas my personal journal would be lost and discarded by now. A personal journal would have become a burden of me telling myself how I should write in it but never getting around to it.
For some reason, I never have this problem with blogging. At the beginning I thought I would, but I never have.
The second important benefit I’ve discovered is that blogging is an art form. Yes, I could share my personal experiences in emails to friends and family without going so far as to post it all online. However, in an email, I can’t necessarily be “artistic” or to write in the type of style that flows in a blog entry. Plus, I have a tendency to be thinking about the people I’m writing to- asking questions and thinking about their lives. I don’t think or write so much about myself. With blogging, I can, because I have no one in mind when I write. Call that self-absorbed if you will, but it has been tremendously beneficial to me. I can experiment, I can dwell in moods and emotions. I can relive memories. I have laughed and cried as I wrote entries. I have mourned and felt better.
Blogging is also an art form in cultivating the tone, style and even entertainment value of the entries. I have read blogs that really are quite self-absorbed or tedious and I do not go back to read them again. Other blogs I’ve read have been truly amazing in their humor and insights. Some bloggers go much further than I have dared to go in sharing their personal lives, and I have found that instead of being put off, I have related to these people I’ve never met and cared about what is happening to them. I have learned from them. The truly skilled and authentic blogger creates a genuine community and connection over the internet. They are the bravest ones.
Sometimes I think about the “audience” or who is or isn’t reading my blog. But most of the time, I am simply entranced with writing, with thinking and cultivating, with having fun, with losing all sense of time, with the satisfaction of being able to “publish” it and sometimes get feedback.
So I keep coming back. I dare to express myself. I dare to be honest and hold out my life to you. I dare to seek connection. There’s nothing wrong with that, is there?
May 18th 2004Uncategorized