Regarding Blogs

posted March 13, 2013

Twenty years ago I started a journal. My parents bought me a computer for my eighteenth birthday and it was probably the first file I created. I know it’s one of the few files I created on that computer that I still have. I wrote in it regularly for years. I didn’t have to make myself do it and I didn’t set aside a certain time everyday. Thoughts would come into my head and I would want to write them down so I could refer to them later.

That was how it went for eleven years. My journal is longer than most novels, but ten years ago I stopped feeling the need to write in it. Why?

I sat down and read it all.

It’s a good read for me. I think probably every writer loves to read their own work. Case in point: I read the large majority of the emails I write. Not just proofread, but go to the SENT folder and read that copy. That’s the copy with an audience. That sounds vain, but as a writer there’s a compulsion to understand something. Maybe it’s just trying to figure out why you want to write in the first place.

I think though it’s understanding the difference between the writer and what is written. Once it’s reached an audience writing is its own thing. If you have a thought and keep it to yourself it goes back into the mix and remains one thing. If you write something, and then share it with even just one person, you can’t call that thought back home and pretend it never happened. It’s out in the world and will never need you again to exist. That might turn up the censor for some, but I think most writers find that peculiar event exhilarating. We’ve let a thought out into the world. We loved it and now it doesn’t need us to live.

I remember reading as a kid a lot more than any moment when I decided I wanted to write. The more I read the more I’d get this nagging feeling in most books where the story went somewhere wrong for me. I had a growing sense of the ride of each book and would lean into every corner, and at some point I would lean left and the author would take a sharp right. So my first instincts to write were to continue the path that author had left behind. There was a thought there that needed to be out of just my head.

The thing that stopped my journal was the journal itself.

I read back over it and there was my life. The struggles were similar, the joy was familiar, it was only the events that changed. And the reader. I realized I was a reader more than a writer of my own journal. When I leaned left, it went left. When I leaned right, it was right there for me.

This blogging thing. I get it and there are blogs I like to read, but I never wanted to write one that much until now. I think I always imagined them like my journal. This won’t be that. Couldn’t be. I’ll just share some thoughts whenever they pop into my head and they’ll be interesting or helpful or enjoyable. Thanks for coming. There is no one more respected by a writer than readers.

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