Why do we do this? Why blog? Most of the folks I interact with online are writers, like me. Many of us have written novels or memoirs we want to see through to publication, and part of that journey requires we “build a platform.” That means we must establish a public identity, a soapbox, if you will, to display our talent or voice or whatever it is we want and need to exhibit. It’s more or less so we become recognizable, build a following, have fans who might consider buying our books. It’s part of the job. But there’s no rule that says we have to. It’s a choice to put ourselves out there for everyone to see and possibly criticize.
I wasn’t thrilled when I realized I needed to establish a blog. It’s just one more thing on my vast list of things to do, and it’s a very time-consuming one, at that. Not so much the actual writing itself, but rather the giving back, the trolling of all the other blogs, the reading, the following, the commenting. It’s practically a full-time job in itself. Just ask Alex Cavanaugh. It’s playfully believed he has an army of clones who comment on all the blogs he follows. So if it’s so hard, why do it? Certainly our time would be better spent writing our stories, sending out queries, or agonizing over revisions.
What I’ve found is that, in this most solitary of professions or vocations, there are others just like me, who want to connect, who need to feel a part of something, a community, a brotherhood, a family. We don’t compete against each other. We’re there for moral support or a virtual hug, a pat on the back or smack upside the head. We are a team. I, for one, know for a fact that I could never have gotten as far as I currently have without all my writer and blogger friends. It is the single most supportive community I’ve ever personally been a part of. And I’m proud of that, of all the folks who populate that community. Or almost all the folks anyway, until I read a few of the comments on one of Cassie Mae’s blog posts last week.
It was a sweet post, as Cassie’s often are, about being tagged and recognized for receiving several blog awards, ones she most decidedly deserves. Yet, while nearly every one of her friends offered congratulations for being such an inspiration to others, a few commenters felt the need, or thought it was the appropriate place, to criticize Cassie for not being serious enough, for not putting herself high enough up on a platform, as the commenter erroneously believes all authors should. To be above it all. To be adult and write material so she can be taken earnestly as a writer.
My thought when I read one of those comments:
Seriously, it’s like someone being invited into your bedroom, asked to sit down on your bed for a chat then proceed to rifle through your drawers, open your diary, read it, and criticize you for what you’ve written. I mean, basically, that’s kind of what our blogs are, a journal of what’s important to us, what matters, what makes us happy or irritates the hell out of us. Just because we open the door and ask someone if they’d like to come on in for awhile doesn’t mean they should be rude or offer unrelated, unwanted, uninvited opinions on a completely irrelevant topic. And then to do so without even introducing themselves, without offering a link so their authority could be recognized, so the merits of their expertise could be verified, well, that’s just plain cowardly. And if I may say so, not very writerly at all.
What was writerly though was the reaction some of her friends had. They took a virtual step in between Cassie and her assailants and endorsed what we all believe, that our blogs are our own. They are who we are, what we are, and how we are. They are an extension of our lives, our beliefs, our interests, our talents, of our very personalities. They are us. And we are them. Who’s to say we’re doing it all wrong? By what authority? Sure, I would never post anything inappropriate or embarrassing to my publisher or friends or family or anybody, really. But what I say, what I write, if it’s about me, it belongs there exactly as I want it, as I’ve written it.
It’s my blog and I’ll say what I wanna say, do what I wanna do, be who I wanna be.
What about you? What do you think? Why do you blog?