I found a passage in a book which was published before blogging was invented that suits me perfectly.
Seeing yourself in print is such an amazing concept: you can get so much attention without having to actually show up somewhere.
Anne Lamott wrote this in her book Bird by Bird which was published back in 1994, a year after she released Operating Instructions. Of course blogging wasn’t even a twinkle in anyone’s eye at the time, with the internet not exactly a household name either. So naturally when she wrote her book Bird by Bird, which has the sub title of “Some Instructions on Writing and Life” she referred to writing and publishing in print format.
It doesn’t matter though. I was told by various followers here that publishing a blog is equivalent (on some level) to publishing in the sense that your typed words are made public to be read by the masses. (Ok, maybe not the masses, but there’s a few of you who like to read here…thank you for dedicating your time, it means a lot to me.)
I can back this up: when I submit some of my writing to contests or things like that, the instructions often include a statement that only previously unpublished works will be accepted. They include the stipulation that ‘a blog post is considered published work’.
So there. 🙂
But that quote above holds true to me in more ways than one.
For instance, when I publish something on my blog(s) and see feedback in the forms of likes or comments, it provides a certain amount of validation to me. This validation, that someone is interested enough not just to read me (lurking), but also to take a moment out of their time to let me know they liked it, it somehow feeds my forward propulsion to keep writing.
This is crucial to me. Not that I would stop writing if I had no likes or comments, but the likes and comments in particular propel me forward on a daily basis. Often, it’s the comments which become new fodder for future blog posts (or articles or books or essays or stories or journal entries etc).
I suspect I’m not the only one who feels this way about blogging.
I like the feedback. Do you?
I like the comments. Who doesn’t?
I like the sense of community. I’ve heard this mention by others often enough to know that it keeps many of us coming back for more.
But I also like that I don’t have to go somewhere…Allow me to elaborate:
On the same page as the above passage I quoted, Anne say this about writing:
…writers, who tend to be shy, get to stay home and still be public.
As an introverted, sometimes shy person, this type of social life suits me. It doesn’t of course take away from the physical socializing I do; the gatherings or outings with family or friends, the mingling at the rink or baseball diamonds, the catching up with other parents at school pickup (when the kids were younger).
It’s nice, mostly.
But my few hours of solitude that arrives when the family has left for school and work is my happy space. Two hours before I have to walk a dog, edit a book, research an article, run an errand or get dinner started that I can dedicate to writing. Just writing. I could write naked if I felt like it during that time (ha. Just kidding! Just checking to see if you’re paying attention.) 😉
Anyway… I have heard that this book is a must read for writers, and although I vaguely remember having picked it up before I don’t recall having finished it. Anne’s world view is very different from mine (she is deeply spiritual and religious, I am not), but I remember devouring her Operation Instructions book where she journaled her way through the first year of life with her baby, as a single mom. She made a HUGE impression on me and now, so does her writing instruction book.
On that note, I decided to publish some of my creative writing stories, starting on Friday. Perhaps I will call them Fiction Fridays or something. I can’t promise I will do this every Friday, but I will start this Friday only because I was suddenly hit with a deep inspiration for a story that just had to come out. I wrote four chapters in an hour and a half right around the time the family came back from camping and I gotta tell you, there was nothing they could do to get me distracted from my story.
The words were at the tip of my tongue and I simply had to get them out.
So, here’s to all of you bloggers and writers: don’t despair when you hit a dry run. I get those all the time and then suddenly, out come the words and nothing can stop me.
Did you read any of Anne’s books, or specifically, Bird by Bird? What do you think?