To paraphrase the master – “What’s in a blog? A Blog, by any other name, would sound as sweet.” Or would it? The coming of age of the Blog has fascinated me. People sharing information, ideas, even personal dreams and hopes, all online, all with one (?) main goal – but what is that goal? I would think most people’s first thought is Self Expression. But as I wade through the blogosphere, and read so many well written posts, I do see that many, dare I say most of them are genuine and heart felt. However, and it’s a big however, it seems to me that self-expression is just a side effect of the blog, not the main “raison d’être”, or reason of being.
Okay, I admit it, I’m still hanging on to the old school way of things, it’s hard to make changes when you get to be my age. Especially when it comes to personal expression. I still have trouble thinking of a blog as something to be read by others, even promoted, seeking readerships, a “must” according to WordPress. They have many articles about it, such as this one about how to Make Posts More Sharable.
I’m not missing the point, not really. I know it’s all part of the same social evolution taking place online, sharing bits and pieces of yourself online on Facebook, Twitter, and so many other places. But I still say it is a fine line between writing for yourself and writing for others.
I come from a history of self-inspection, reflection, expression, but it was always personal, not public. I kept a hand written personal Journal, from the age of 14 (that’s back in 1986 for those who are counting) and wrote in it almost daily well into my adulthood. Back then, of course, it was called a Diary, none of this journalistic stuff. It was personal and intended to stay that way. It’s sole purpose was to have a record of who I was, so one day I could look back and see where I had been.
Even then, there were times I found myself holding back, especially when I got married for the first time. Instead of writing just for me, I wrote with this little censor in the back of my mine, not too strong, but strong enough, just in case my then husband might get too curious. That was my first taste of the inner censor and I didn’t like it very much, but I felt it was necessary. Of course, after I divorced, it was all back to me, and me alone, and I felt like something previously stifled in me had come alive.
I continued writing through my 20’s and into my 30’s,this time more aware of my need to be honest, at least with myself. I married again, and had children, at which point much of my writing was about motherhood, but eventually the writing tapered off, because I was simply too busy living. It started back again when things began to go south with my marriage, and at that time I discovered internet, and a place called Open Diary. Btw, anyone following that link will either get a 404 or see that O.D. is closing down.
Open Diary was not a blog. It was more like a Diary, but shared with others. Down to earth and personal, people went on there to express things they couldn’t do elsewhere, not to get followers or friends, but to find others going through some of the same experiences. It was a close community. I guess you could cal it a Pre-blog.
Writing on Open Diary was much like writing in my own personal diary, I didn’t edit myself, it was more like talking with a close friend. I needed that closeness, that feeling of being understood by others going through similar experiences. No one cared about followers, it was just a place where people could write about anything and find interesting perspectives.
In that sense, I guess it was a good stepping stone toward blogging, but it still didn’t prepare me for what blogging really is.
Let it be clear that I am not in any way saying blogs are not as good as diaries, or less about self expression, I am simply expressing why it is difficult for me to get into any kind of regular posting experience. Self expression, for me, has always been so personal, and it feels like blogging is somehow less about sharing the soul and more about sharing what you know. An intellectual exercise. Many are able to do both, and I hope I can learn that. It’s easy enough to share what I know, it’s the part about putting the soul into it that seems so difficult, because I’m used to that part being “for Judee’s eyes only”.
The Writing Challenges were a good stepping stone for me when I first came on here but I have let them slide along with everything else. It’s so easy for me to express myself in fiction, even things that were difficult for me to deal with in the past. And I know I don’t have to bare my soul to write here, I just need to find that balance between heart and mind and turn it into words.
Lately I feel drawn here, like something inside me is wanting to get out. I guess my biggest block is that I am so settled in my life, so at peace with where I am, that I find very little to talk about. Which is rather silly, because I’m sure I still have plenty to say, I just don’t quite know what.
Perhaps this really is what I need now. A life at peace may have few conflicts to resolve, but perhaps that’s the whole point. All that private stuff, all that personal searching is behind me. So perhaps it’s time to let go and simply, well, share. Isn’t that what blogging is about? No longer keeping things private, but reaching out, sharing experiences, even if they are past, letting others know they are not alone.
Hey, I think I’m beginning to get the picture. To see what a blog can be. A sharing of knowledge, of experience, of learning and growth. A realization that my life is not just about me, but about all others I may touch from time to time.
What’s in a blog? Sharing. Sounds good to me, what do you think?
Thanks for reading. 🙂