What the heck am I doing fiddling with a blog when I’ve got writing to do? It’s just adding one more chunk of unwritten words knocking at my skull to get out, so why add the load? It isn’t as if I’ve got a wild readership hungry for my every word and thought, or even that I’ve got a book I’m trying to sell.
So, again, I’ll ask myself (myself because nobody’s reading this), why saddle up this pony. Especially at this part of the game?
Well, there’s discipline. That’s a good one, and a tough one to impose on oneself in a hobby/career/creative expression that surrenders so easily to a lack of discipline. I have no publisher setting deadlines, nobody watching over my shoulder making sure I get the day’s work done, so the discipline has to come from within. A blog is a great way to flog myself into doing something that will lead to…
Habit. That’s a great one. Writing needs a shift from habitually thinking about writing to the act of doing it. Damn but that sounds so easy (tidy little sentence, too). Forming new habits is hard word that require motivation for their steam. Right now, I don’t have much of that, both the willingness to work hard for a dream I can’t touch, smell, taste, or take to the bank. I don’t even have the belief I can ever pull off the top quality writing that is my dream and motivation. My motivation to avoid frustration and heartbreak is much greater than my motivation behind my wanting to write.
Yeah, let’s throw away habit as a reason why writers should blog. And besides, mechanically forcing yourself, myself, to do something for the sake of discipline and habit can lead to the habit of writing pure crap. Not good.
Well, then (for the third time) why keep a blog? (I’m so glad I have an answer for this.)
Because it’s a daily exercise in having a point. An exercise in creating interest and involving the reader in what’s read. It’s an exercise, repeated over and over, in how to state a situation, grow something out of that situation, and then putting an end to it. Oh, but it can’t be a “The End” see-you-later kind of end. It has to be an end within an end that keep both reader and writer wanting more. Even if the writing we choose is big, epic novels, we do want the reader approaching those last pages with hungry anticipation that’s in conflict with knowing finding out what happens next means exiting the worlds we created, leaving behind new friends we’ve convinced them to care about and believe, if just for a short time, are real.
That’s why this writer needs to blog. I’ve got a lot of experience with writing, but all of the skills learned through that experience are rusty. The only skill not rusty is the one of fear. I’m really good at that one. I’m afraid I can’t pull it off, afraid I’ll pull it off badly, afraid to keep on writing and discovering I’m a mediocre writer with no clue, or ability, to rise above myself. So writing blog posts is a great way for me to face those fears as often as I can handle, fail, come back and try again, and keep failing until the successes rise from the failures and show some kind of sign that there’s hope for this compulsion I’ve got turning into more than just a masochistic compulsion.
There. I’ve failed. This isn’t a clear and engaging blog post, but at least I know why. I haven’t made the point I sat down to make, I’ve wandered, I’ve let the power of my fear intrude, yet again, on my plans, and it’s a good bet I haven’t engaged anybody’s attention or whetted any appetites into wanting more, more, more of my wit, wisdom, and pithy writing. But I did it. Here’s one more failure laid bare for me to examine and others to snicker at. One more failure with a sharp enough edge to sharpen my skills. I’ve taken my best shot at making a point, which is always the point of writing great scenes and characters and building a story, and all sorts of other happy hoo-has of writing. And I’ve taken another step towards discipline, habit, and eternal happiness within the fantasy of perfection (that’s another demon most writers face, but that’s the stuff of another post).
And now that it’s done, I can go about my business of worrying about the next blog post, the next character I’ll create, the next setting, the next…
You get the picture, but not because I’ve successfully brought this post to a close after making a great point. You get the picture because you’ve been exactly where I am now.