Yeah, so it’s day seven and I’m pretty sure I have nothing more that’s interesting to say to you people. I go down my list of blog ideas and reject each one, convinced that they’re boring, repetitive, precious, stupid, overwrought, snobby, etc, etc. This is how my internal editor manifests.
So where do we go from here, folks? Why am I “talking” in this way, that is, through these blogs? I keep getting tangled up in the question of meaning: What is blogging for? What is writing for? What is creative expression for? I tend to assume that writing is a commodity, the currency I’m supposed to exchange for fame, attention, money, posterity. But the fact is, only a small percentage of people who write stuff actually become famous (much less wealthy). So what do the rest of us do?
Writing for its own sake is a hard concept for me to understand. Which tells me, again, that my tendency is to view the world from the “outside in” rather than from the “inside out” – looking outside myself for meaning and purpose rather than inside.
A friend once asked me, “How would you want to feel, if you were on the New York Times bestseller list?” I return to this question again and again. What kind of emotional or spiritual experiences do I want to have as a result of my writing, and are they possible only through generally accepted markers of “success”?
- I want to feel connected to other people, like I’m writing about things they’ve experienced, too, and that we both recognize it. I love it when you guys leave comments, because it’s less like I’m talking in a virtual, empty room.
- I want to feel vital. Dynamic. Alive. Like I’m growing.
- I want attention. Preferably positive. This one is sticky, since wanting attention is usually judged as something childish. And how much attention is enough?
- I want to flex my writing muscles, to practice the skills I already have and tackle new ones.
- I want to join the long line of writers – all those people who have made marks on paper in an attempt to communicate.
I can access some of these feelings and experiences right now, just by blogging. I don’t have to wait for the New York Times or for Oprah. I don’t have to worry about how many people are following my blog – I can enjoy those of you who already are. This is comforting.
But there’s still the nagging question: How to balance radical acceptance (I am most likely not going to be the next wildly successful book author) with ambition (I am going to continue to write and work to put my writing out there in wider and wider circles)?
What do you think? The floor is open for comment.