Why blog? Why not keep a journal instead: a private escape for one’s thoughts, a keeper of secrets, a chalice to hold one’s innermost fears and desires. A journal will not be subjected to the scrutiny of anonymous readers. It will not open itself to judgement and criticism. Unless… it is discovered.
Like journal-writing, blogging is in many respects a private affair. We pour shards of our existence onto the page. Our words reveal as much as they conceal. A narrative develops over time and new truths are weaved into the old, at times displacing them. As for the elephant in the room? Ah yes. That small issue of it being public.
I was a child tiptoeing into adulthood when I started my first journal. Two weeks or so into the attempt I gave it up as a bad job. “Life is dull” was my swift conclusion. Or at least, this I thought of my life as it squiggled in ink on the page, and there was little fun to be had in chronicling pedestrian trials and tribulations. The following day I invented a story instead. My fictional alter-ego surpassed all expectations. There were adventures to be had, mysteries to be uncovered and unknowables to be explored. And, there was something else that appealed about this alternative: I could take others along on the journey by sharing my stories.
And this is the advantage any blog will always have over a journal: it is created to be shared, an endeavour that connects us with others and in doing so, it enriches our experience of story-telling, be that in the guise of writers, photographers, or artists.
There is a degree of danger associated with blogging: we can never be certain of our audience’s reaction. As a writer I am all too familiar with those negative voices in one’s head, the ones that whisper from the empty page, challenging: “Who do you think you are? What makes you think that you have something to say worthy of being read?” These demons do not discriminate. They haunt the greats and beginners alike.
Defining what constitutes good content will always be an exercise in subjectivity. Each blogger and reader are likely to have their own view of what is “good”. My first steps into the blogosphere were digital footprints of former experiences and creative passions. In time I learnt that good writing is never self-indulgent and always aims to serve the reader rather than yours truly (the writer).
There is one stumbling block that I ought to acknowledge before I say my goodbyes. Of late my blogging and writing commitments have been vying for mastery over the most precious of all resources: Time. There is a catch to being a writer: you have to write. The same goes for blogging. I am searching for a formula that will accommodate both without damaging the quality of either. When I discover it, I will be sure to let you know. Then again, you may be “in the know” already. If so… Care to share?