Before Blogging Became Fancy
The evolution of blogging from casual to formal.
In the early days of blogging, it was a casual, “in your jeans” kind of writing, not fancy like today.
It was both a writing outlet and blogging community where likeminded creatives participated in month-long challenges — sometimes writing-themed, sometimes photo — regularly visiting community blogs to comment and share experiences, celebrate achievements or commiserate setbacks. In many ways, blogging was group therapy.
THE EVOLUTION OF BLOGGING
Over the years, as blogging became a roadmap to a book deal or product ambassadorship, blogging traded in its jeans for fancy clothes.
Once improvised and emotive, blogging became calculated and goal driven, counterintuitive to its spontaneous, spirit-driven roots when blogs were virtual diaries. The opposite of its current iteration to platform writing where platform is more important than passion and polish more important than tarnish.
Writing polished pieces, without the tarnish, kills the soul of a blog post, quashing unfiltered raw thoughts and emotions. Focused on what the market wants to hear rather than what they want to say, many bloggers spend too much time polishing their posts, which produces bland, processed prose.
If you write what you think is expected of you rather than what you want to say, platform becomes more important than passion and your words lose their impact.
Yet, platform writing isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Just another thing that can impede your writing and inhibit spontaneity. Focusing on “what you should write” instead of “what you want to write” undermines the creative process.
Not everyone works best in a platform-centric environment. —The pressure of defining my platform and writing platform-centric pieces drove me into the weeds.
Everyday I obsessed over “what I should write” rather than “what I wanted to write.” All my ideas, scribbled on scraps of paper stayed scrappy as I lingered in a continuous state of stuck, caught in a “what should I write about?” roundabout.
Instead of writing blog posts based on observations and experiences, like in the old days, I scribbled thoughts into a notebook, wrote a draft and continued to revise it endlessly — tweak and repeat — because I was afraid to publish something that wasn’t indicative of my “writing platform” even though I didn’t know what my platform was. — How dumb is that?
In the past, my blog posts were more often like drafts, albeit edited drafts, but they were written impulsively with a personal objective. Now I write cautiously for a market, focused on what I should write, instead of what I want to write, striving to elevate my writing to polished, topic-centric prose.
Once prolific, now constricted.
Over the years, my writing lost its way. When the blogging community fragmented, so did I. Many bloggers ended up on Facebook where we still keep in touch, but it’s not like the old days of blogging and the creative community that galvanized us.
Only recently I realized how much the blogging community had inspired me and challenged my writing and creativity. I was energized by the interaction and good-natured competition and will always look back on those days fondly. But just as blogging has changed so have I.
Change is synonymous with growth. To experience growing pains is natural and expected. It’s how you deal with the pain that spurs or curbs growth. If you try to understand the pain and its effects on you, you will become more grounded and perceptive, which will enhance your life and writing.
As long as you embrace growth and understand the meaning of the pain it brings, you will grow as a writer.
Sometimes growing pains take longer than you’d like. Be patient and acknowledge any bit of progress. Be good to yourself through the struggle. Growth and pain are inherent in passionate writing and spirited living.
If you lose your passion and your engine for expression, you lose a chunk of who you are. But, you can always get it back.
Sometimes it comes from introspection. Sometimes from inspiration. Sometimes from a community of writers.
Bloggers/writers are a great resource through challenging times. They pass along what they learn from their emotional setbacks and how they overcame them. See how they transcend their setbacks and the words they use to describe them. Some of the best writing comes from an emotional purge or a brain dump.
Purging should be your prime objective in writing, not worrying about something that will distract you. — Worrying about what others think of you and your writing is counterproductive. — Worrying about publishing a blog post more than writing it will paralyze you.
Focus on human imperfections, not publishing perfection.
Focus on writing raw, honest prose. Yes, always spell check and proofread your writing. (Nobody likes to be stopped in mid-read by a badly written sentence.) But don’t stress over building a platform or following a perceived pathway toward success. Just friggin write what you want!
Afterthought: As I started writing this, it became part of a healing process. Working out the chaos of thoughts that have tormented me for so long helped me better understand what I’ve been going through. Healing takes time. There are no shortcuts in writing. Every time you write is progress.
Be kind to yourself while you’re struggling. Beating yourself up will only prolong the pain and make it worse. You are your best advocate. Believe in yourself and you will get past this. Never give up!