Posts from Memory Lane: The Anxious Blogger

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

These posts were written during the summer while I was in Bangladesh, in preparation for the upcoming academic year. Long story short: when I looked back at the archive, I didn't have the desire or the time to put them up. But now, since I'm coming back to the blog, I decided that some of them aren't half bad. Read on!

No one wants to read a blog about writing.

At least, that was the advice that I got from the plentiful 'blogging gurus' available in articles written online for those who are just starting out. As a result, I shifted my focus away from things like Friday Fiction and writing advice towards more general pieces and, though it was true that I enjoyed being able to branch out and not get all meta-narrative about the creative process, it also caused me to start having anxiety when I did want to write about writing. Was it a taboo topic? Was no one going to read it?

I think this is where you can say that I became beholden to the reader. I wanted to make my blogging more marketable and palatable, regardless of whether there were 200 people reading it or 2. Somewhere along the line it just got to be about readership rather than idea creation and spontaneous publication. And almost everything else felt more freeing.

I've been stuck at the page enough times now to feel like there's this big heavy guilt associated with not getting anything down. Where are the words? They've got to be around here somewhere. Maybe they're hiding underneath all those really nice doodles I've been doing or on top of that giant stack of novels that I've started reading and stopped halfway through. I pound myself with advice and inspiration, trying to unstick the language from the inside of my skull. I'm always tripped up by the fact that I can see the images so clearly in my head, but cannot find the right way to depict them in words. Frustrating.

Because blogging had taken a turn for more 'public media,' I started writing less for myself and more for the world. There were Big Issues to be discussed. And sometimes I love discussing them. But I also don't want to feel like my small personal truths are less important than those larger public ones.

So, what does all of that mean? It means that taking a risk is going to have to become part of my blog work just as much as it is already part of my zine creation and other writing endeavors. I have to break out of the audience-peddling that I've been doing and remind myself, as Richard Hugo puts it, that there is no reader and I best not try to create one just yet. Sometimes art needs a quiet little space and some loud uncouth dreams.