I decided not to post a blog for my blog class homework this week.
Not because I didn’t have an idea (have too many) or because I didn’t have anything written down (got pages and pages!) It was the sinking realization that some of my life-long writing habits were strangling the words on their way to getting written. So much stuff and the compulsion to say it just so. I’m not even doing my blog class exercises properly… two minutes into free-writing, I stop the timer so I can just keep going-going-going. For hours.
But blogging is not about that, right? Isn’t it a perfect medium for the short-and-sweet, the passing thought or observation, the quick laugh and the “hey, look at this?” Does my writing always need to be a carefully-honed philosophical epiphany of over-edited ideas? (like that sentence?)
I’m in the midst of a sort-and-purge project, unearthing and reading things I wrote 15-20 years ago, and I’ve discovered I often wrote the same way then, too. (Copies of rather serious letters to family or exes? I kept ’em. Yes, that’s my idiot flag flapping high in the wind over there.)
So, I decided not to post. Said: “okay, here’s my bad habit. Habits. Found ’em, gonna examine them, and not gonna post this week until I. Get. It. I’m gonna be accountable to myself.”
After a moment of silence rose the question that’s needed to be asked for a damn long time:
Would I even want to read this?
What is it about the blogs (and the authors) that we love to read?
There’s one I like because it’s often super-short and pointed and sparks an “oh, I see” most every time. There’s another that uses a handful of individual sentences to support a single idea. Clever craft.
Other favorite blogs are funny. Helpful. Sophisticated without being pretentious. Thoughtful without overthinking. Knowing, kind, poignant, touching or witty. I like edginess and irreverence and a good sense of the ridiculous, too. I enjoy reading many different kinds of blogs; I am interested in many different things. One or two tend to ramble and go a little off subject; I give them a chance because I read fast and don’t mind a couple extra minutes if it means finding something good. And smart – they’re all smart, and talk to me in a way that assumes I am as well. They don’t require a huge commitment and seem to respect that I might want a lot from them and only have a little bit of time. Mostly, they’ve been there and get that I have, too.
The best are like being with a friend for a chat or a cup of coffee or a laugh – you just feel better. It’s a good spot in your day.
What I love to read … is how I want to write.
Those characteristics I love and want to embrace in my own writing? They’re also the characteristics of my beloved reader – my ideal reader. (Figuring that out was the second part of my homework assignment… looks like I did it after all. Fleepin’ accountability.)
One other thing, about my old writings: I’d also kept copies of the good bits, too. Funny stuff, the kind that made people laugh, then, and still makes me smile, now.
This I will share with you, my Dear Reader.
This, even I would want to read.