Tonight I want to talk about other things.
Mostly because I'm still working on the posts above, and need to edit pictures. But also because I read an article today that reinforced some feelings I've been having about blogging.
There is a big focus in the blogging world to only publish polished pieces. To think of things in terms of "evergreen" content. To have the best graphics and titles and SEO. To view every blog post as a resume. To not put out anything that is less than perfect.
I think this is to our detriment.
Before you object, I'm not saying to throw junk out there on your blog. This is not about pushing mediocrity. A little editing is everyone's friend. It is beautiful to take the time to craft something truly special with your words. Your blog absolutely can bring opportunities into your life, and it is smart to be mindful of what you are putting out there for the world to read.
But I have been doing this blogging thing for nine years, and I remember when things were a little less structured and maybe...just a little bit...more fun.
I want to give you my best writing, my best stories, my best thoughts. But sometimes I just want to send a message out to the world. Sometimes I want to say, "I'm so excited that Grimm is back on tv this year! Can we talk about Nick-getting-his-powers-back theories?" Sometimes I need to say, "I'm struggling today. Your prayers would mean a lot," and I don't have it in me to write a beautiful example of depression that will open people's eyes and change the world. Sometimes I just have one picture to share - and it isn't the most perfect picture in the world, but it makes me happy and I think it might make you happy, too. And sometimes the little things in my day aren't enough to make a whole post, but I still want to share them with you.
Social media could be the place for a lot of these things, but as much as I love social media (and I really do), I like having all of my words together in one place. I like that my blog is a record of my life for the last nine years. Almost a decade of big and small things. Some more exciting than others. All important to me in some way. It means something to me.
This isn't true of just my blog. Your blog means something to me, too.
I love the blogging community as a whole, and the opportunity we have all been given to share pieces of our lives. It is a powerful thing. But sometimes it is just an, "I am watching Grimm, and you should watch it, too, so we can talk about it" kind of thing. And that is okay.
I am concerned that the pressure to always be on, always be perfect, and always have a post that lends itself to a great pinnable graphic, is stealing some of the soul from blogging. I want to get that soul back.
The University Of Pennsylvania is offering a new creative writing class called Wasting Time On The Internet. I know some of you are sighing exasperatedly and mumbling about the state of higher education just looking at that title. We can debate the merits of the class, but I really enjoyed the explanation the professor, Kenneth Goldsmith, gave for his new class,
"I'm very tired of reading articles in the New York Times every week that make us feel bad about spending so much time on the internet, about dividing our attention so many times. I think it's complete bullshit that the internet is making us dumber. I think the internet is making us smarter. There's this new morality built around guilt and shame in the digital age."He went on to compare the writing that happens online to poetry.
"We're writing an enormous amount, but somehow the culture keeps devaluing that. I think, yes, this is real writing. If we can claim that writing as poetry, that alienation and guilt can be expunged and the writing can be celebrated. We can look forward to wasting time on the internet instead of deriding it."I don't know that everything I write online could be considered poetry. I don't even particularly enjoy most poetry. But I do like this thought that "we're all building an incredible portrait of what it's like to be alive now." That is true, and pretty awesome.
So maybe not all the time we waste on the internet is really a waste. I've felt that way for a long time - especially where blogging is concerned. And I'll happily submit these words to the poetry of the internet, with the hope that they inspire you to write a little bit more, and not hold back the things that don't feel big enough to share.
We can change the world with our words tomorrow. Today, let's just share a little bit of ourselves with our friends. You might be surprised to find that this is actually the first step on the path of changing the world.