Getting Back On The Bloggy Horse
It's been a long time since I've blogged personally or prolifically. In 2015 I'd like to turn that trend around — for the same reasons I want to get to the gym more: it's healthy.
I don't really believe in resolutions, but as an arbitrary time to mark a change, the new year is as good as any. So let's begin with a little intro/retrospection — confronting some of the anxieties that I think have kept my production down.
For the past thirteen years (!!!) I've used this space to turn over my mental mulch in sometimes aggressively transparent fashion. It's a selfish act, performed for selfish reasons — to let people keep up with me, but also to clear my head; to promote my agenda; to understand myself.
Unfashionable as it may be, this is part of who I am, a piece of my mental persona. Just as muscles slacken, fatten, atrophy without exercise, failure to blog leads to fuzzy and slow-feeling thoughts. I can feel this happening, and I don't like it.
However, it's a lot harder to go full gonzo like I did back in the day. Compared to where I started — post-9/11 artist computer politico kid scratching out a bare existence, searching for meaning in early-gentrification Brooklyn — I have more to lose, and I'm much less sanguine about how much protection "telling the truth" offers from the negative impacts of misinterpretation (willful or otherwise).
Audience distorts expression. We all sing better in the shower, and whoever said "dance like no one is watching" would have also said "blog like your in-laws, employees, and investors have no chance of reading."
And while there's nothing wrong with writing square at your readers, especially if you're looking to elicit a specific response or get a point across, the awareness of an audience can also be awkward, a smothering "self-conscious" kind of consciousness. Energy spent worrying about how things will be interpreted cuts directly against the effort of expression itself.
So, I'm stuck. It won't work for me to pack it in and quit being outlandish — like the man said, "I'll never get that straight" — but at the same time I don't have unfettered rights to my story like I did at age 22. That's life. Kicking my feet and pouting about it doesn't do any good.
Clearly there's a balance to be struck here, somewhere between letting it all hang out in blurty gut-spilt fashion and posting the personal equivalent of press releases. My delemma might even be more broadly relevant: in a word saturated with social media, the struggle for an honest personal voice that transcends both juvenile over-sharing and self-aggrandizing happytalk is real.
It takes care and craft to relate authentic experience, but this is kung-fu worth practicing.
(End note: anyone with tips, tricks, or techniques to improve writerly output, or how to balance the professional and personal, I'm all ears.)