Wednesday, 23 January 2008

What I Get From Blogging

Merry Monteleone has tagged me for a meme, and this one is a lot harder than it sounds: You have to explain what it is you expect from your blog and why you chose to write a blog in the first place. My reasons for writing a blog are many, and I have been pondering them for some time now, so this meme has given me the chance to deal with this subject in depth.

(1) Writing is Easier than Talking: Like a lot of other bloggers, I suspect that I am better at writing than I am at speaking. I have a rather convoluted, long-winded speaking style (what? you can't tell?) that lends itself better to the written word than the spoken. Writing a blog means I can get my point across without any embarrassing mess-ups as I flounder for the right word or compete unsuccessfully with more glib or charismatic people for speaking time. Participating in a many-sided conversation, I often feel like a timid driver trying to merge in heavy rush-hour traffic.

(2) Natural Show Off: This is embarrassing to admit, but true: I am a terrible show off. I was a nerd in high school and almost pathologically shy to boot, but my show-offiness has been there all along, lurking behind a meek, dorky personality, desperate to get out. Blogging gives me a chance to get up on my hind legs and hold forth, and very satisfying it is. You, dear readers, are all my enablers.

(3) Letter-writing Addict: Blogging is, for me, very similar to letter-writing, which I am crazy about. I get a thrill looking at my commenters' names and picturing all the countries you come from: Australia, Scotland, U.S.A., Japan, Singapore, India, England, Korea, Malaysia -- the more the better, and my only regret is that I cannot rip the stamps off your postings and stick them in my stamp collection. Yes -- I'll admit it! -- I've got one. I suspect if I'd had the technical ability, I'd have been a ham radio operator, too.

(4) Shameless Self-promotion: Friends who knew that I had written a memoir about learning Japanese told me that a blog would be the perfect way to showcase my work. Just start a blog they assured me, and you'll get agents writing and begging you for your memoir. No, of course that hasn't happened. But I live in hope.

(5) Keeping my Hand in: I tell myself that even if I've turned out only a few indifferent paragraphs of my latest manuscript or muddled through a little lukewarm revision of some past work, by keeping a blog I am at least getting some writing done. Sure, I know: I am only fooling myself. But there is still a grain of truth in it.

(6) Learning Opportunities: One month before I started this blog, I didn't know what blog meant and I didn't know what an internet presence was. The first time I saw the word meme I thought huh? I was unfamiliar with such internet-related terms as URL and hits, did not know the word friend could be used as a verb, and had no idea what Facebook meant. In fact, I still don't really know what Facebook is, but look how far I've come!

(7) Venting Opportunities! This ought to be number (1). What can I say? I am the mother of teenagers. Teenage daughters. That alone should speak volumes. I can't help but wonder what the mothers without blogs do. Frankly, I suspect drinking and substance abuse problems. Blogging has probably saved my liver.

(8) Fun, Fun, Fun: I'm not sure how much longer I'll keep this blog, but it has been such a wonderful source of fun. I never know what will garner interest, and I love reading everyone's comments and responding to them as much as I enjoy writing the postings. And visiting your blogs is wonderful too. It's free, it's fun, and I get to express myself, brother. What's not to like?

Okay -- that's why I started this blog. I now tag Kim, who got me into this in the first place.


Kara said...

And here I thought you did it for the swag.

How foolish am I.

And I'm here to tell you, there will be NO quitsies. I forbid it.

As you were.

Katie Alender said...

Yeah, seriously, what's this talk about not blogging?? That is Not Okay.

Kim Ayres said...

This is proving trickier than I thought - I'll let you know when I've put a post up

The Anti-Wife said...

Quitting will not be tolerated.

Mary Witzl said...

Kara -- Swag? Oh, if only! Wouldn't it be great to get paid for blogging? And while I'm at it, I'd like a pony and a tree house and a hot fudge sundae.

Katie -- It's just that I've got to start earning a living and -- I have to admit -- really revising my work and querying. I'm all too good at procrastinating...

Kim -- It really IS hard. I've only skimmed the surface.

Anti-wife -- It probably won't be tolerable either, so if I do quit, I won't do it cold turkey, I'll just gradually taper off.

Carole said...

I love your blog and hope you keep posting. But I agree that it is a wonderful way to keep from doing the querying and such. Still I would miss it terribly if you quit. So don't. That's my professional opinion.

Kim Ayres said...

OK, it's done

-eve- said...

> stamp collection.
Hehehe... I should have guessed! But it's a good idea... if only each of us DID have stamps, so that whenever we comment on your blog, a stamp sort of appears *we should suggest that to blogger ;-) then you COULD collect stamps :-)*

Plus, blogging is better than letter writing cos it's so much quicker! :-)

Merry Monteleone said...

Blogging is all the fun of pen pals with instant gratification... what's not to like?

I'm with you on the procrastination end, though, you put so much thought into your posts and then comments turn into conversations, and then you visit your readers blogs and become readers of theirs... on and on... it's a great pasttime, especially for writers - I've learned so much from getting to talk to other writers, on every level of their careers, too. But, yeah, I should limit my time more, because I only have so much writing time and I spend a good portion of it on my blog and commenting on others...

I had thought of posting a hiatus blog, stating I'd be back when my wip is in query, but I decided against it... if my blog goes dark for a bit of time, you'll know why, but I'd hate to say I'll be gone and then sneak back in... which I would... I'm addicted to it I think.

Thanks for playing, Mary, I thought you'd have a great take on this, you always do.

Mary Witzl said...

Carole -- Aw, you shouldn't encourage me! Just the thought of people coming to my blog to read my pearls of wisdom makes me want to write even more. Worrying, really.

Kim -- I have been, and I have read. You approached the subject with care and consideration instead of treating it with flippancy like I did. Now I feel even more superficial.

Eve -- We might as well be train spotters: soon we'll have our own anoraks and mechanical pencils all lined up in our drawers!

I don't really have a PROPER stamp collection; I inherited the brunt of it from my father, who inherited his collection from his older brother. I've got stamps that date back to the nineteenth century... Oh God, do I sound like a geek!

Merry -- You are so right. I LOVED having penpals, but having to wait ages for their letters -- months, sometimes -- was rough. Now, in a mere five to ten minutes, I can see what my e-pals have to say. It doesn't get much better than that!

You are also right about how easy it has become to procrastinate. I've tried to put a lot into writing each blog entry in order to convince myself that I'm not just using my blog to goof off. But I'm really in denial: writing should be fun, but not this much fun -- and I know how much fun revising stuff isn't, and guess what I should be doing? I think I need to take a break, but once you climb off the blogging wheel, I fear it's not so easy to climb back on.

-eve- said...

they'll be worth a lot someday :-)

Church Lady said...

I love reading your blog, fwiw!

Kim Ayres said...

For goodness sake Mary - stop being a guilt sponge! I loved your post. Just because I have an existential crisis the moment anyone asks me if I'd like milk in my coffee, doesn't mean the rest of the world is superficial :)