Friday, June 24, 2011

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Blogger

As I suspect other bloggers do as well, I struggle with juggling my desire to blog here with the rest of my life responsibilities.

When we have friction at our house, it's very often the result of the perception that I'm spending too much time online. Again, that's probably not a unique thing for anyone who's reading a blog.

My problem is that it is very, very hard for me to sit down and write anything of substance in a focused way for short measures of time. Well, I take that back; that used to be what I did for a living, writing promotional material for a local governmental-services office. Hack writing under a deadline is like taking a trip around the block for groceries; you're on autopilot, basically, at least after you've gotten into your professional groove, and you frankly don't exert all that much cerebral effort dutifully churning out press releases and PSAs.

To me blogging is different. It's about endurance and attention, not sudden brilliant bursts of insight. First of all, even under a pseudonym, you're putting yourself out there when you own a blog. You want what you say to matter -- because otherwise it's just an exercise in narcissistic time-wastery. And you also don't want what you say to sound like crap; you want to craft your thoughts, not simply disgorge them as they pop into your head. And, for me, even with a life filled with abundant raw material for any number of literary projects, it's difficult to sit and stare at a blank screen and come up with posts ex nihilo. I usually have to prime the pump by reading the newspaper or reading other people's blogs or keeping up with online conversations on the two discussion groups I hang out at. Somehow all of that, along with the rest of the day, spins together and, on occasion, provides me with an observation or insight that I'll find blogworthy.

So for me blogging takes time and focused attention. It's probably something I should do at the crack of dawn when I'm alone, undistracted and not distracting anyone else (except maybe Mollie the cat). I suppose I'm Exhibit A for Virginia Woolf's campaign to have female writers claim a "room of one's own"....although considering what happened to Virginia Woolf I'm not sure she's the best advertisement for that proposition.

But I really want to write more. Sometimes I feel as I've been given a gift, something that makes me me, that I'm not valuing the way that I should; and that if I don't continue to exercise this gift, it will begin to fade away, and part of me with it.

1 comment:

Gilly said...

Just write! If it is in you, then you must get something down! Don't worry about the grammar, spelling, proper sentences, just get your feelings down. And keep them. Time will come when you can tidy them up, use them together with other things.

But write, blog, whatever.

I know, I'm a writer too, under some disapproval from close by.