This morning I wanted to leave a comment on a blog post about standing in line at the movies (Bill Martell, Sex in a Submarine) and this brought me face to face with my own blog denial.
When I clicked on my own name and went to my blog, I was embarrassed to see that it still featured an old photo—and I had not made any new blog posts since, er, July 2007.
After the blushing cooled off, I decided to tackle the problem as if I was a writer or closet writer coming to me, the expert on fear of writing, for help. Only I was a lot tougher with myself and not as touchy-feely empathetic.
What’s my big deal? Why don’t I take advantage of having a blog by making regular posts?
There are probably others, but here are the three main fears I found:
— It takes too long
— I won’t have enough ideas; I won’t know what to write
— I don’t want to use good material here that could be used in better places, e.g. Fear of Writing Gazette
As with most of our “I’m not facing imminent death nor deciding whether to flee or fight” type of modern-day fears, the three from my list are completely illogical and can be debunked with a few moments of productive thinking.
Since I don’t believe in forking over money to a therapist when I can do it myself, here’s what I came up with:
“IT TAKES TOO LONG”
Obviously, this is a variation on the old standard “I don’t have time to write.”
I don’t have time to write? That’s crazy; I’m a writer. If I don’t have time to write, I should stop fooling myself and go bag groceries at Giant Eagle. Yada yada.
But there is something else to this one and that’s why I was very specific in saying “it takes too long.” The way I was approaching blogging was definitely not the Easy Button way. I couldn’t just blurt out today’s thoughts like everyone else and post it without fussing over it. I saw each blog entry as a work of art and an opportunity to indulge one of my loves, which is putting images with words. I also paid close attention to proofreading, formatting and the use of colored fonts to make things stand out.
I see now that I was treating my blog as an avenue for self-published articles instead of an ongoing conversation.
This is also crazy because there are plenty of sites on the Web specifically devoted to that undertaking. Marnie Pehrson’s IdeaMarketers is one of my favorites.
(Note to Self: Write and post new articles for IdeaMarketers.)
The part about putting images with words is, of course, a valid part of blogging—but first I need to get over my preciousness about it. And then learn how to do it on the fly like experienced bloggers do.
“I WON’T HAVE ENOUGH IDEAS; I WON’T KNOW WHAT TO WRITE”
This is sheer insanity. I’m the kind of writer that has idea-diarrhea, not the kind who buys software designed to generate ideas for you. I even have a whole system set up to help me capture my ideas, especially when they’re coming in droves.
(Note to Self: This is excellent fodder for another blog post.)
“I DON’T WANT TO USE GOOD MATERIAL HERE THAT COULD BE USED IN BETTER PLACES, E.G. FEAR OF WRITING GAZETTE”
This is an embarrassing example of sloppy thinking, but I forced myself to include it because it’s a mental block I need to overcome.
Fear of Writing Gazette is the e-mail newsletter that goes with my Website. My fear was this: If I write in my blog about topics I want to feature in the “Gazette,” this will be a wasteful doubling-up of material—with a bonus sub-fear that readers might get sick of my repetition.
One of the great principles of article writing, which I believe can be applied to this particular situation, is the recycling of material. When recycling, you present the same theme or topic in a slightly different way each time, geared for the outlet you’re writing for.
The fear about people getting sick of my repetition could only come true if my readers dropped everything they were doing and went and read everything I’ve ever written on my Website, in Web articles, in my blog and everywhere else . . . and then did a thesis on the sins of my repetition.
Bang. The judge’s gavel has spoken.
“Milli Thornton, you are sentenced to scrub the cobwebs off your blog and make more frequent posts, setting aside your indulgence in your fears and smartening up your act. You are a writer. Now behave like one.”
PS. While writing this post, I came up with seven solid ideas for future blog entries. “That was easy!”