28 August 2017

Why I still blog

The short, straightforward answer: Because I want to feel good about myself.

For an indulgent, self-patting and -absolving explanation:

You give me the pleasure of having an audience

My favorite anecdote about writing is this: A poet friend attended a national writers workshop and his poetry was lambasted. Imagine how painful it must be for him, hearing the critiques, pretending to be fine afterwards. To recover, he wrote a poem.

That’s how you know you’re meant to do something. It’s a reflex.

Among the activities that captured my imagination as child, writing was the easiest to do. I wanted to be a pianist, a carpenter, a teacher, a cashier, a swimmer. We had a piano at home, but I couldn’t make noises at night. Swimming lessons, plus the gears, were expensive. But writing, it's cheap. I can do it anywhere, whenever I want to. In my head, I can be as loud as I like.

Following the bait of Language has led me here. I studied Literature, I took jobs as a communications assistant, an English tutor, a travel and lifestyle writer. In college I was thinking in poetry. In the mid-2000s I was thinking in blogs. In 2008 I started thinking in aphorisms — in 140 characters, that is.

This blog, which I created in 2003 (that period between graduating and signing an employment contract), has been a steady outlet for my writing. What began as a space for well-meaning bullshit became a confluence of my writerly selves, my many voices.

While my byline has appeared in publications in every available platform, most ideas I hold dear are here. Thank heavens for technology — for blogs, really, because I would explode if these thoughts didn’t find expression. And at least here it’s less of a one-way conversation.

I’ll do what I do anyway — it’s a reflex, but I would be lying if I said that I have no need for kind words. Writing is that job where you know you’re a rockstar but you don't get an applause. It’s a solitary occupation. Often it feels like talking to a ghost. But when you see the shares, the likes, when someone surprises you with a message of admiration or gratitude, the ghost becomes human. The weather turns warm.

Why I love blogging more than ever

In 2012 I wrote:

"9 years ago I dreamed of becoming a writer. 2 years ago I became a professional one: I write; I get paid. Since then I have loved this blog more than I ever did. Because (cheesy as it sounds) this is me.
. . . .
Before, I was aching to get published and I knew that getting published would feel amazing. It does. It did. It does when it matters. Now, having your work and your thoughts printed and disseminated seems to be the easiest occupation. So my dream has changed, or it has at least reverted to my principal dream, and that is to write well."

Making a career out of your passions can bring you to an identity and integrity crisis. When I was hired in the marketing department of a local newspaper five years ago, I thought in advertorials. I understood what “culture shock” meant when I entered the publishing industry. Writers put their names on barely edited press releases and call it a day. You’d be asked to state something you didn’t believe in. Because everyone was doing it, you’d figure it was okay.

There are stuff that are very not okay, however. I still can’t get over seeing my name on heavily revised articles, and articles that are almost entirely written by another. I still sometimes beat myself up for allowing these to happen.

And so this blog has also meant that. I’ve learned a lot, which means a lot must be unlearned. This is my constant attempt to write well and be a person of integrity. This is all me: the good, the bad syntax, the ugly.


Today is the blog's 14th birthday. Consider this entry a form of celebration.

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