I just read The Weblog Handbook, by Rebecca Blood. (Yes, it came out in 2002. Yes, I’m a little late.) I thought it was a good read, and it definitely got me thinking about blogging. It goes along with Mrs. Chicken’s post about blogging for yourself, in a way.
Blood says, “It’s easy to write poorly, but it’s hard to write poorly every day. Wait. Let’s go back a step: It’s hard to write every day. …Perhaps it would be most accurate to say that when you are sincerely trying, it’s hard to write poorly every day.”
This, for me, is the main reason to participate in NaBloPoMo. Sure, I could come on and post 30 memes or 30 little cryptic sentences and chalk it up a success – but I won’t. This year I’m going to do my darnedest to not take the easy way out. At least not on every single post of the month. A girl’s gotta do the occasional meme, right?
She also says, “As you read and think and write daily, you will quickly find that you are smarter, more interesting, and more articulate than you ever dreamed you could be. But when you are starting out–and even when you have been doing a weblog for a while–it really can seem that everyone else is doing better work than you. It happens to me still. When this happens, take a spin through your favorite weblogs, paying close attention to what they do and how they do it.” That’s why I love the writers in my blogroll. Each is writing in a unique voice. Each has a great design, a way with words, a funny or endearing or snarky or intellectual spin on things. I find inspiration among their posts.
One of the things I’ve enjoyed in my new home here at WordPress is the ability to see stats for this site. I found a caution in Blood’s book about the lure of watching your site traffic too closely, though.
“If you allow yourself to begin posting entries based on what you think someone else wants you to write, you are missing the point of having a weblog. Even more destructive is the numbers game. It is always flattering to discover that someone else likes reading what you write, but if you begin to focus on gaining the largest audience you can, you will destroy whatever pleasure you may otherwise derive from your work. Someone will always have a larger audience than you do, and someone else will always have a larger audience than theirs. The surest way to sabotage your enjoyment of your weblog is to start caring about how many people a day look at your site. So understand that the attention you pay to your audience is not aimed at impressing them. Your only objective is to avoid sorely offending them.” (Ed. note: Links inserted, obviously)
So, my take-away from the book? Blogging can be splendid; good for the soul, good for stretching those wordsmith muscles and working through a writer’s block. Blogging can get you down, if you lose your focus. Enjoy your ‘audience’ as a community, a group of friends, fellow travelers on the journey; don’t get caught up in comparisons and counting pageviews. I think I get it.