What The Hell Am I Blogging For, Anyway?


The greatest of victories is the victory over oneself.

~The Dhammapada

The curse of every writer

Writing, I’ve found, is a lot like moving to L.A. or New York as a fledgling actor. You do it as much as you can, hoping that maybe someone might take notice and make you the next DeNiro or Hanks. Most of the time you’re just waiting tables at Applebees like the thousands of others still in your shoes. It’s a tough job…but, for creativity’s sake, someone has to do it. And many do. Voluntarily.

I’ve been blogging for a little over a year now. I haven’t gotten rich, haven’t gotten better-looking or even more charming. I have, if you’d like to use the actor’s equivalent, landed a few roles (being Freshly Pressed) and hung in there. But I know that in the long run I’m gonna be one of many pretty anonymous bloggers, a small fish in a gargantuan pond. So why do I even bother? Is it some kind of existentialist torture, like Sisyphus forced to churn out neat little 500-word packets instead of forever pushing a rock uphill? Is it me engaging my hidden masochistic side? What?

Every writer feels this way at some time

Blogging has become relevant and even necessary in my life. The same way a pianist practices endless scales or a linebacker high-steps through sets of tires, it’s a way to hone my craft. No matter how much I hem and haw and pooh-pooh, I know it’s a routine to get those 500-1000 words out every few days. For me? Yeah. For the 70-some subscribers who have chosen to follow my work? Absolutely. To prove a point? Well, there’s that, too.

I blog because I can. Like Sir Edmund Hilleary once said of Everest, because the damn thing is there. Some days it’s fun and other days I’d rather go in for a root canal sans anesthetics. But since I am still able to write and say what I’d like to, I might as well take advantage. Because I’m an agnostic at best and a lapsed Catholic/Buddhist/shaman at worst, it has become even a form of prayer. To get the words on (virtual) paper is to tell God/the Universe that I’m here, I’m listening, and I’m awaiting further instruction.

Blogging is also like academic reading

Blogging has also been a helpful way to deal with my often paralysing shyness. For those who may not know, in real life, I make Star Trek’s Lt. Reg Barclay look outgoing by comparison. It’s a way for me to say out loud what I might never say otherwise. It’s more anonymous and therefore, safer. And despite my shyness, I’m certainly opinionated. I’ll never run out of things on which to opine, whether it’s the existence of cryptids, the last book I read, or the current state of affairs in Washington. Which is why, if you’ve followed P&Q for any length of time, you’ll notice I don’t have a specific theme. Anything is fair game. If something catches my interest, I’m probably going to blog about it.

I suppose the main reason I’ve kept on blogging is a sense of accomplishment. I know that if I can put 500-1000 words every few days here, there’s hope yet that I might finish that long-talked about book. That adds up to roughly 150K words per year, give or take, which is a decent manuscript. Every time I blog I know I’m taking another step, if not to greatness, than to perhaps a publishing deal.

And the last part…I won’t lie, because I suppose every writer feels this way…I enjoy hearing from readers. To get a feedback message is to know that someone actually took the time to read and write about what I had to say. Call it raging egotism, but it’s the truth. I write because I want people to read what I have to say. It’s the reason why people flock in droves to James Patterson and Nora Roberts instead of, say, Love Songs of the Pacific Grey Whales.

So, for now, I’ll continue writing P&Q every few days. I may branch out (another subject, perhaps more streamlined and focused on one or two topics). This year I might finally accept the challenge of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November. Even more dauntingly, I might start to overcome my fear of rejection and start networking among fellow writers. I can’t do anything by myself; that’s one lesson I’ve learned over the last year.

And I also couldn’t do anything without you, the readers of P&Q. Thanks for making it worthwhile. You guys are awesome.

Writing is a lot less lonely with other writers around

Enjoyed this post? Be sure to click “Like” and subscribe to P&Q! Got questions, comments or suggestions for a future post? Send ’em to wikusandmurdock@yahoo.com!

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on August 15, 2011.

4 Responses to “What The Hell Am I Blogging For, Anyway?”

  1. I just started a blog and I was questioning whether to keep going or not – I really don’t have anyone who bothers to read it except for one really good friend. I originally just started it as a way to try and organize my thoughts so I could focus on actually writing the book I am working on with less of a jumbled mess in my head. However, it’s gotten to the point that I feel a little down each time I log on and see that there are “no comments”. After reading this, though, I think that I will keep going for a little while longer – the blog is foremost for my happiness, after all, so I shouldn’t care if no one else cares to read it!
    Thanks, and you’ve gained yourself another follower!

  2. I love this post, and I am right there with you on every point. I think that many writers are natural introverts. We turn to our own thoughts and our pens and paper, feeling much more comfortable there than in a crowd of people trying to voice our thoughts. The internet and blogs in particular are a way for us to put our writing out there, and to continue to hone our craft, while still keeping a certain level of anonymity.

    I, for one, am very glad that you are putting your writing out there. And I just want to say, thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. I started my blog in February, after deciding there was no reason why I couldn’t become a published novelist and an internet superstar at the same time. (I figured if I published my plans regularly, it would give me an extra incentive to actually follow through on them). Fortunately for the rest of the world, neither of these things has happened yet, but I find that blogging every week, whether I want to or not, has become an invaluable writing exercise, and, to my surprise, I’m actually enjoying it.

    I guess my YouTube plans prevent me from being taken seriously as an introvert, but I’m spectacularly awkward in social situations, so you’ve got to give me points for that.

    Anyway… we’re always out here, enjoying your posts; lurking in the background and pretending we don’t desperately crave attention from those who can appreciate the craft. So, keep it up. We’re reading.

  4. It’s as if you took the words directly out of my brain.

    Very nice. 🙂

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