Monday, September 17, 2012

The Writer and the Reason Behind the Blog

This post has been floating around my head for months, especially during times like the one within which I currently find myself, a week where not a single post drafts itself in my mind, a week where even creating some sort of list calls for too much effort, a week where the wells of my expression are dry. Weeks like this one call to question why I find myself allotting so many minutes and hours of my life in front of this screen, in front of your words and mine.

Joan Didion's essay "Why I Write" sums up most accurately how I feel about the blogging world:
In many ways writing is the act of saying I, of imposing oneself upon other people, of saying listen to me, see it my way, change your mind.  It’s an aggressive, even a hostile act.  You can disguise its qualifiers and tentative subjunctives, with ellipses and evasions—with the whole manner of intimating rather than claiming, of alluding rather than stating—but there’s no getting around the fact that setting words on paper is the tactic of a secret bully, an invasion, an imposition of the writer’s sensibility on the reader’s most private space.
We call ourselves documenters, storytellers, photographers, crafters, community seekers, and writers. We capture moments for our families and connect with family and friends.  At the end of the day, we call ourselves bloggers.  Within its nature the term suggests sharing thoughts, photographs, oneself with the rest of the world, and perhaps as Didion suggests, "imposing."

I don't buy the "I write for me" argument. At least not completely. Didion expounds, "I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means.  What I want and what I fear." 

Those very words could have been my mantra throughout my teens and twenties.

These are a just a handful of the journals I've filled in my time as a "writer." The Sheriff would be proud of the Pooh Bear notebook I suppose.  (And in a note to my husband and best friend as well, you are to burn these upon my passing. That is unless you suppose my fame might come Emily Dickinson style in which case feel free to publish the good stuff.)

Yes, many of us write for the very reasons of discovering ourselves and exploring the chapters in life's journey, but I believe once one chooses to create a space of one's own online, the intentions behind writing expand to sharing, connecting, "imposing."

My own blogging space has become a family scrapbook, a way of holding onto both the big moments and small ones alike. If I didn't want others to connect to my life in some way, I would have chosen a more classical approach. This connection may find itself more tangible for family members and close friends, and perhaps simply as fellow toddler moms, foodies, or crafters for blog friends.

I still journal, not as often as I used to or as often as I should, but there are certainly pieces of my life that need writing to pull them together or in some instances, pull them apart. There are pieces personal and mine, and others meant just for my family, and these I refrain from posting. While it would be nice to admit that this blog has morphed into a simple way to document our lives, my heart knows there's more. My heart wants long distance family members and friends to experience life right beside us. My heart wants to connect with others who experience the same moments and wants to learn from others who have experienced different.

There are days I want to create the next best thing, whether it be a craft, toddler activity, or recipe. There are days I want to be so captivatingly witty that readers can't wait to see what I post next. I sometimes search for the right post to "impose" upon readers, and I believe that the number of bloggers who write without readers in mind is quite small. Other days I question which blogs I allow to enter my own "personal space."

Those days of wishing and wanting carry unnecessary pressure, so I typically post what I've got, dismiss the thought of being the next Queen of Blogland, and shift back into reality where there are people that love me for me.

This is where I thank you for allowing my storytelling, my documenting, my moment-capturing to enter your hearts and minds and connect on some level or another because yes, I'm writing for me, for my family, but the very act of writing, and especially composing via blog posts, adds someone else to the picture as well.


Elizabeth said...

All so true!! I just hit publish on a post that I feel will be long & boring to some but it is simply to remember the weekend & for my out of town family to get a glimpse into our lives.

Sarah @ It's a Vol said...

This is so well written and true. My blog has become more than I started out for it to be, but remains primarily the only place I find a creative outlet since I fail hard at crafting, drawing etc!

Erin said...

Like Sarah said, this is so well written! Who knows you may just hit Emily Dickinson status one day after all ;)

the workaholic momma said...

I LOVE this....this post is so poetic, yet really speaks to the thoughts that I think traverse most bloggers minds. I'm so glad to have found you in blog land - thanks for sharing all of your stories, craftiness, and amazing recipes:)

KERRY said...

I will have my children look for you in bookstores 80 years from now ;)
Thanks for sharing why you write...

Myn @ fresh graNOLA family said...

I can totally related to this, right down to the journals. Fellow NOLA girl here, though I see you are a texan now. :)

Andie said...

this is so true... and well written! :) THanks for sharing Jen!