I’ve been asked to participate in Blogversation 2012, a project created by Colleen Newvine, a talented journalist who used to work for me years ago. She’s invited some of her favorite bloggers to participate in an online version of a salon (or “The View”) for the year. Questions get posted twice a week on Colleen’s blog and we discuss.
It’s an interesting project and I think I am going to like it because it will force me to focus and write on a specific topic. I’ll post my pieces from there to here.
So, without further ado, here is my answer to the question, “Why do you blog?”
For nearly 19 years, I produced the equivalent of a blog post a week with my weekly newspaper column. Some of those columns were quite good; some were not.
“You phoned that one in,” my husband would say once in awahile after reading one of my lesser efforts in the Sunday paper. He was always right, and even though his candor momentarily pissed me off, I’d remind myself that his honesty was among the many reasons why I married him.
Even though I lost my newspaper job and weekly column space nearly three years ago, I continue to write for public consumption. I posted my first blog post on Open Salon the day after I got laid off because I had a lot to say. The post landed on the front page as an Editor’s Pick and gathered lots of comments. I learned that day that while my newspaper career was done, my public writing days were far from over.
These days, I write for two reasons.
I write as a tradesperson. I ghost blog for a successful local business owner; I write websites for small businesses; I write various anonymous pieces for pay. It’s commerce.
But I also write because I must. While some say writing is their passion, for me it’s more like a compulsion. I can’t not write, and moving from print to digital has been mind-blowingly wonderful. It’s like I’ve been set free from the constraints of my old newspaper columns. I can write as long or short as I like, and about absolutely anything. Sometimes I write about politics. Sometimes I write about my kid. Sometimes I use language that I couldn’t or wouldn’t before, like using the word pissed above.
I don’t blog as an expert on something because I am expert at nothing, and I’ve got nothing to sell. The older I get and the more I write, the more I understand that I write because I need to connect with others.
I took my kid to a little diner in my town last week. When I sent him up to the pay the bill – a mission he likes because I let him keep the change as a tip if it’s less than a dollar – a woman approached me.
“Your son?” she said.
“I can’t believe how tall he is,” she said. “How old is he now?”
I told her that he was turning 13 on his next birthday.
She shook her head.
“Time flies,” she said. “I remember when you were pregnant.”
I had no idea who this woman was or why she would remember my pregnancy. I am sure I looked puzzled.
The woman laughed.
“I remember you from the newspaper,” she said. “I’d always read your columns. I didn’t always agree with you, but you were usually interesting.”
I directed her to this website and left that diner feeling good.
So, I keep writing. Instead of writing columns in a newspaper, I post pieces on various blogs. I write about whatever I want. My personal work doesn’t make a lot of money, but creating a post — knowing that I’ve produced something with which a reader can connect — is always enough.
And managing to sometimes be interesting is the icing on the cake.