Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The One Where I Get a Little Self-Esteemy & You Wait for Me to Return to Normal

I write because it's what I do. I write because when I stop writing, I stop knowing who I am. I write because my brain works in paragraphs & commas, because I'm more comfortable typing ampersands than continuing spoken sentences. Because it's the only way I can feel - feel alive, feel intelligent, feel talented, feel anything. And mostly, as simple as it is, I write because I'm a writer - because even when my job says I'm something else, writing is all that has ever made me entirely me.

I blog because I'm a writer, & also because I'm vain (as all bloggers are). I don't blog because I think my life is phenomenally interesting or because I think that you should care so much about it. Instead, I write because my life is average & so are my thoughts, but if I can explain them to you in a way that draws you in & piques your interest, without ever exaggerating or lying, then I'm becoming a better writer. I blog to make my life beautiful. And really, that makes me no more vain than a filmmaker who creates films he hopes others will want to watch, or a musician who sings because she wants others to want to listen to her voice. Writers are artists - & art needs appreciation, an audience, an outlet.

I've always been told not to blog for an audience - to blog for myself. But I can't. I can write for myself, in journals & on paper & in this Macbook that holds every secret I've ever put to the keyboard. But blogging? I blog for you, because I want you to want to read the things I say - because that's what bloggers want.

But blogging is a little tough on my soul sometimes.

I try not to care how many comments I get or how many readers I've acquired during my two-&-a-half year stint on this blog. I try not to compare myself to the bloggers I read & respect who garner dozens upon dozens of comments on every post, no matter what they say or how well it's written or whether it's anything worth reading (though, of course, it so often is). I try not to wonder why so many bloggers with enviable followings are also those with the poorest writing skills or the least interesting stories. I try to stay positive, to be encouraging, to realize that others blog for the same reasons I do. I try to be happy for them, with them & because of them, & I try not to be negative toward them or envious of them.

But it's difficult. My words, even when they're on stupid topics that mean nothing at all - they're words I put a lot of care into. They're words I'm proud of, because I'm proud of my ability to write the way I do - the way I think, the way I feel, in a voice that is distinctly & definitively mine. I can't help but wonder, though: Am I doing something wrong?

I think people just want more. Most readers, it seems, want to know things: They want to know about dates & careers & kids & nights out on the town. They want photos of decorated apartments, of new babies, of wedding dresses. They don't just want words. They want intimate details of other peoples' lives, & I'm loath to provide those. I don't want too much of me on here. I want what's on here to be on here - & I want that to be enough. But it's not. No matter how witty or well-spoken I am, the topics I choose to write about simply fail to entice the sheer numbers of readers that other bloggers' content does.

And look, I know it's not just about numbers. I definitely know. Every time someone tells me they read my blog, or they love my blog, or they saw something on my blog that inspired them to [insert something cool & tingles-inducing here], I'm reminded that it's not about the numbers. But that doesn't mean I don't still wonder.

I'm trying to blog for myself and for you - to give you what you want while staying true to myself & to what I'm comfortable with. But so often, so many late nights as I pore through my Google Reader, scrolling & browsing & commenting, I can't help but wonder: What am I doing wrong? And how long before I get tired of doing it all wrong & stop doing it altogether?

Is it worth it? And even if it's not, can I stop?

But I know the answer: I'm a writer. So it doesn't matter. I can't stop.
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