Blogging. I love the word. I love the look of the word. I love doing it.
But the addiction which has developed as a result does come at a cost.
I’m not talking about the blogging/life balance. I’m talking about the process I seem to adopt when pushing stuff to the web.
Other bloggers I know happily admit to stacking up their entries, getting copy written and stored away for a rainy day. Some even schedule their updates so that blog posts appear automatically. They feel reassured about that. Personally, I’m irritated by that.
Scheduling updates implies a certain amount of organisation. It suggests people plan out their week and their copy in relation to that week. It means they’ve thought about what they’re going to write long before they’re ever going to publish it. Such organisation in an individual is both something to admire and something to fear. Actually, it’s something to fear.
I’m an impulsive thing. I might partake in a conversation, have an internal personal reaction to that conversation and then laugh at myself about it. It’s then I’ll reach for the keyboard, let my mind think of a handful of words – perhaps even stretching to the end of the first sentence – and then bash out everything like it was a stream of consciousness.
That’s why most of what I write goes on for ever and ever and ever. Ask any of my friends. They will concur my anecdotes go on for hours.
When my fingers hit the keyboard I get caught up in the whole process. I love it. But, by the time I feel myself approaching the end of what I’m writing, another emotion kicks in. It’s the ever increasing pressure that as soon as the full-stop has been committed to the page, I must add the tags, assign the categories and click on publish. I have to do it.
The pressure is enormous. It’s like I’m running a race I never thought I’d run and I’m finding myself in the lead and close to the finish line. I have to reach the finish line and I have to commit.
Publish and be damned.
The aftermath of such a method is considerable. There will be a period of say twenty minutes when I’m overcome with a sense of relief. I’ve done it. I’m purged. I can relax now. And then, regular as clockwork, shortly after that, the doubts start to creep in.
Will there be someone who reads what I’ve written and notices the mistakes I’ve made? Will someone find it difficult to get to the end of an especially long sentence I’ve written and then curse my inability to insert even basic punctuation into that sentence? Or will someone stand up from their PC monitor, look down their glasses at me and mutter “He really shouldn’t have written that. The man is an idiot.”
That’s when I quiver. That’s when I reach for the keyboard again and ponder whether I’ve done the right thing. Should I have said what I said? Should I reconsider? Should I, in fact, delete it?
I usually reassure myself at that point that I know my intentions when writing weren’t bad. Yes, the result might be raw and overall point of the piece might be lost on the reader, but if my intention wasn’t to attack but to applaud or be good-humoured or (this is usually the catch-all) be self-deprecating, that makes whatever I’ve done on a personal blog OK.
Personal blogging isn’t easy. Amid all the cries of “you must link to stuff if you are to be a success”, the inner blogger desires nothing more than to write stuff and publish it. The motivation is simply that. If the blogger’s motivation is genuine, sincere and in best interests (not to mention following some simple, personal guidelines about what’s right and what’s not), then that’s the bloggers responsibility met.
Anything else is the reader’s responsibility.