Thursday, December 20, 2012

Reflecting on NaBloPoMo or Blogging in General

I know it's December 20th and a little late to be reflecting on November, but these are thoughts I've been thinking since September really and I'm trying to get all these last ideas of the year wrapped up before 2013!

In September, I went up to Cuesta College for a writing conference. Not as a potential writer, but as a blogger to talk with writers about relationships between writers and bloggers. I have to admit I was really inspired by everyone there, though! Like, I think being creative takes a certain amount of courage and it also takes believing you have something to contribute to the world that the world wants and/or needs. I'm not really very creative, though maybe I wish I was. And when I am I'm often plagued with doubt about it. The only way I have to relate to this idea is through my blog. And I know it's not the same at all, but it is one little area that is somewhat similar. For as much as I might blog for myself, I also blog to connect, believing/hoping someone wants to read what I have to write. And you know, I have my own share of posts that I wonder if anyone has read, they've never received any comments and feedback and they are maybe a little more personal than I'm one hundred percent comfortable being. So this is my one little area that I think takes some courage/I can relate. (but this is still NOTHING compared to the courage it takes to turn in a page of writing and have it read out loud and critiqued!!! I read the pages out loud for one workshop and laughed right before I read Danielle's!! :(( It's only because I knew it was hers and she is my friend and it was awkward, but I felt TERRIBLE)

Anyway, apart from aforementioned workshop, I only attended one on poetry led by Marilyn McEntyre, author of Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies. It was really really great, she'd selected some absolutely gorgeous poems for us to read and try to imitate. (I did a terrible job, I basically scratched out everything I tried to put down. I was so impressed with how quickly everyone else could get stuff down, though!) Anyway, one of the things she said at the beginning that really stuck with me, though, is to think of poetry as something you both give and take. You give back because you receive. It's like inhaling and exhaling. You breathe in and then breathe back out and what you send out is different from you brought in to yourself.

That immediately resonated with me about blogging. This is going to sound terribly pretentious, or too serious, or earnest, or what ever other words I sometimes get called, but I really do think blogging provides an outlet to do just that. I've written before, as have other bloggers like Ana, that it doesn't feel like a book is quite finished until it's been reviewed. I'm not out reading novels and writing my own, but reading novels does affect me. Watching TV does affect me. And the way in which I can give back is by blogging. By opening up those experiences as a conversation, by sharing what I got from them. And obviously this works to varying degrees.

So now when I think about how I write posts that I'm not sure anyone really reads, or ones I feel a little nervous about posting (like The Casual Vacancy one yesterday!), I'm going to think of it in terms of being faithful to exhale, to not keep these experiences bottled up inside of me, but opening them up to others. And like any writer has to believe, there are readers. Even if they never engage with me.

What does this have to do with NaBloPoMo? Well, I really enjoyed the month! Even though it was a lot of pressure and sometimes stressful, I liked feeling more engaged and committed to this blog than I have in a long time. I was glad to at times be forced to write about stuff I'd otherwise let go. I really felt connected to all you more as well, since you know, I was thinking of you and I got more comments than I had in a while on a consistent basis. I'm not going to do it again anytime soon, but I appreciate the feeling of being renewed and wanting to have this blog.

And of course I want to say thank you to all of you who write about your experiences with books. I'm always grateful to get to know you better through your posts and also understand the world a little bit better! So I guess, you know, this is just my usual little reminder in case you forgot that what you do matters. I've seen all the talk about a decrease in comments around the blogosphere as a whole and I'm partly guilty of that. Some days I don't even open up my google reader until after 10 PM if at all :(. So I totally get that my posts get missed as well. But you know, it's still one of my favorite leisurely weekend activities to catch up on reading your posts and the blogosphere is such a varied, fun, surprising place and to be honest I don't know what I'd do without a single one of you.


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