Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Vanity, thy face is MitMoi

Why journal? Why blog? Does anonymity aid or hinder the process? How important is honesty? Does consistency matter? Should the entries be consistently funny? Is angst appreciated?

At some point we all realize how we communicate best. Some people speak well, and need to “talk out their life”. Other people communicate thru artistic endeavors, painting, sculpting, songwriting, music. Sometimes it’s frustrating, because you WANT to say something, but you don’t know how to say it. Or perhaps it’s than you can’t put the right words together; it’s that you can’t even turn those feelings/thoughts into words. Perhaps action is the only way to convey what you feel. Running, throwing, kicking – something physical which releases the energy.

I’m a talking/writing communicator … many times I speak or write to figure out what I’m feeling/thinking. It’s not just my feelings that I work out in this manner … I frequently want to discuss concepts or programming resolutions with co-workers in my professional life. Somehow, by having to “say” something, my thoughts become ordered. Unfortunately, as my red-hair indicates, I speak/write first – in anger, hurt, or excitement … only to wish I had a recall button. But journaling or blogging offers some of those same opportunities, but with the added benefit of being able to review and revise before publishing.

So … now you know one of the reasons why I write. Either to lay it all out and make order – or to figure out how to correct what I conveyed incorrectly the first time. Over the years I’ve kept a journal. It contains infrequent musings since high-school. I think in the back of my mind I always thought I was writing for posterity. You know, it would be discovered some day – 80 years after my death, and the person discovering it would be fascinated to know what my life was like. They’d find out what I thought and felt. What my world was like – and how I navigated it from day to day. But the problem with that scenario? It required that someone find my writing.

Then along came blogging! How great, you write .. and people read! How fun is that? Not only do they read, but they comment. If they think you’re funny? They tell you so! Express something they can identify with? They leave a comment! Besides, many times I’d read what other people had written and I’d think, “Hey, I could have written that!” or “Yes, that’s happened to me too, I should blog about it.”

So I started this blog. And I posted … and I went to other blogs and commented. Surely if you comment, and leave behind a comment with a URL, they’ll come visit, right? Maybe not. But I kept posting … and waiting. Hmmm… no visitors. So then? So then …. I waited. Of course I post anonymously. ‘Cause I’d read enough to know people have gotten fired from jobs when their identity was revealed. And my work? A BIG part of my life … and my stories .. they mostly revolve around work. But if I’m anonymous, how do I invite my friends and family to read what I’ve written, since all my internet “friends” are ignoring me? So maybe I should tell just a few people?

And then … then, I became … self-conscious. Part of the freedom of being anonymous is I could express what ever I wanted .. without having to be worried about what “real world people” thought. Hmmm – the quandary. Anonymous … with freedom to write ANYTHING … or write undisguised?

Next comes the issue of honesty. It’s fairly easy for me to be honest when I’m anonymous, but with m idnity revealed and people I know and love reading what I write? Maybe I won’t write about things that would require a level of honesty that I’m unwilling to share face to face. Hmmm … maybe I don’t have anything to write today. Or the next day, or the next. Suddenly all those funny little stories and thoughts and emotions … are far to personal or unimportant to share. So nothing gets written for a day, or two, or that week, or a month … and how important is it to post something regularly? Important if you want to retain an audience, I think.

Part of my life is telling stories. It’s one of the reasons why I’m a good public speaker – I relate personal experiences – or make up amusing stories to illustrate what I’m trying to teach. But I tell stories outside of seminars and training sessions. I’m always saving up observations and incidents … to relate at a future time to amuse my friends and family. Often people have said, “You should write a book about all the places you’ve been and things that you’ve seen and that have happened to you”. Privately I’ve never thought I had what it takes to be a novelist. The more I read the blogs of published writers, literary agents, and wanna be writes, the more I’ve known I’m right. But if I’m gonna blog, which stories should I releate? Only the funny ones? The ones where my wry humor and acerbic wit are exposed?

Or do people want to read about the angst, the frustration, the confusion? And if they do? Why do they want to read those type of stories? So they can think, “Thank God my life isn’t like that?” Or perhaps, “And I thought “I” had it bad … but that MitMoi? Man – her life sucks!” Or do they read to see where it goes .. to add another beam of illumination to their own lives?

Next month, the circle I attend will talk about personal journaling. It will be interesting to find out who writes, and why they write. Is it private or do they share? Is it easy or hard? Are they consistent or sporadic?

In an attempt to be more disciplined in my posting, I have signed up to participate in National Blog Posting Month. We’ll see where it ends up.

1 comment:

Joe said...

The N&O has a bunch of stuff in its "Q" section currently about blogging: why, how, how to behave.... I think those are legit questions to askf, but the N&O asking is like the cat asking the mouse how it feels about cheese, or even cats. :) People have different motivations and expectations about blogging. Some blogs aren't worth reading, some are. My opinion: if you're blogging, you want feedback. If you want feedback, you need to give it: Answer comments with new comments. Maybe even send a little e-mail, or read a commenter's blog and comment. And please try to be interesting or entertaining or *something*. Generally, saying "Me too" isn't worth it.