Are you taking blogging too seriously, or not seriously enough?
Yesterday, I took my son and a some of his friends to an indoor skate park. They videotaped a bunch of their tricks and then watched them in the car on the way home. When someone messed up a trick, one kid kept saying,
I know there is a site on the internet called Fail Blog, full of people doing stupid things, but whenever he said it, I couldn't help but feeling he was talking to me.
Just two weeks ago I posted my writing resolutions in black and white, sent out to the internet, and now floating around in cyberspace forever. One of those resolutions was to blog at least twice a week. Guess what? My last post was on January 7th, and it is now the 18th. Hmmmm, BLOGFAIL???
I have a pile of excuses:
Buried in revisions for my upcoming novel, busy kids, recovering from the holidays, scouts, and oh yeah, I am now in charge of all the 18 month to 11-year-old kids at church. (More than 80 kids!!!) I love each of my many hats, (Except for the laundry-hat, and the police-the-fighting-kids hat and the help-with-homework-I-don't-remember-how-to-do hat....okay you get the idea,) but they have tendency to take up all of my time.
I could use any of those things as an excuses for the Blogger Hat to go by the wayside, (right?) but I think the biggest reason I'm not blogging is something deeper:
I have, (at last count) eight unfinished blog posts--posts I started to write and then for whatever reason decided I couldn't post them. The reasons vary--I need more information. Can I really say this about this book? Is this going to sound dumb?
Coming from a background in journalism, both print and broadcast I was TRAINED to check all my facts and make everything perfect. But blogging is different. While I'm chastising myself for not making blogging a priority and not taking it seriously, maybe the problem is I'm taking it too seriously.
No, I am not advocating putting up false information up on a blog. (There's enough of that on the internet as it is.) What I'm saying is that (especially for a writer), blogging should be fun. It should be a piece of you. It's your opinion, it's your passion, it's your life to be shared. It should be "Wow this book is so great that I can't wait to tell you about it!" Or "You wouldn't believe what kids are doing to make their world a better place!" Or it could just be, "Pursuing your dreams is hard, but you can do it."
It can even be "Sometimes life is so frustrating I just want to cry." Or "Sometimes life is so beautiful I just want to cry." Or as simple as, "You wouldn't believe what happened to me today."
Two blogs I visited recently helped me come to this conclusion: Lynne Kelly Hoenig, (Making Stuff Up and Writing it Down) and her hilariously, ironic fish story blog: "Lessons In Character Motivation From A Passive-Aggressive Fish" and Carrie Dair's "Destruction 101," about the destruction and mayhem stories we all have from childhood, (Come on, I Dair You). Love their blog titles BTW.
Neither of these posts were life-changing (um, unless you're Beanie the fish), neither took a lot of research, neither were attempts by the writer to sell something, or establish a platform. They were fun, slice of life, moments that we can all relate to and laugh about.
Even one of my hero-writers, Sarah Dessen writes slice-of-life stuff on her Writergrl Live Journal--playing with her daughter, pop culture, weather--things that are important to her and relate-able to the rest of us. (Oh, and totally check out the first chapter for her new book WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE when you visit her blog. Can't wait to read it!)
My (as usual) long-winded post boils down to this one point, a formula I will try to follow in my blogging from now on:
Write what you love, and who you are, and post without fear--Take it seriously, but don't take it too seriously.
I'll still write about books I love, and kids who impress me, and the ups and downs of being a new author and a mom, but I will do it with less fear of the dreaded BLOGFAIL (thanks Bryce).
And after just one (or maybe two) proofreads I'm posting this one, I promise.
Now you tell me. What do you think a blog supposed to be?