Monday, October 13, 2008

On blogging, a writer's angst

In Stephen King's On Writing, he tells aspiring writers (such as myself) that you cannot be a writer if you are not a reader - particularly of the genre in which you aspire to write.

Meanwhile, I am about to be published in an inspirational magazine (Guideposts) which I read regularly. "Being published" is a HUGE affirmation. It's almost as cool as getting Comments. During the "being published" process, the very supportive editor who is working with me suggested that I blog on parenting (this is a passion for me - parenting, not blogging). So, I started blogging in earnest. (My sister had already encouraged the blogging, and I'd started blogging again here and posting photos on this site. "In earnest" mostly means this site.).

In order to be an effective blogger, I also became a blog reader. Unfortunately, I have an addictive nature and I can't seem to control myself. In part, it's the nature of the blogs to suck you in, through links & comments connecting you to other bloggers.

With some addictions, such as smoking or drinking, participation is binary: you are either engaged in your bad habit or you are not. I used to joke that I quit smoking 20-30 times a day, every time I snuffed a cigarette. I'd mastered breaking the habit when I quit lighting up. I quit lighting cigarettes (and smoking them) on June 10, 2004. Similarly, recovering alcoholics can tell you how long they have been sober. Other addictions are much harder to control.

Blog-control is like dieting. You can't be binary. You have to eat, right? I'm no good at counting calories, and I sometimes find myself in the kitchen mindlessly grazing. My computer has become my kitchen. I sit down to write something, but find myself grazing on the posts of others. My mind is so full of ideas and streams of consciousness that I'm drowning in the noise of it all. I keep stuffing myself on what I'm reading, then I don't have the time or energy to exercise my own thoughts.

I'm now trying portion control. I've bookmarked about 30 blog sites the way I might flag a new recipe or dish I want to try. Just because one bite of that cheesecake was delicious heavenly drool-inducing the stuff dreams are made of, doesn't mean I have to eat the whole thing. From the list of the 30, I hope to build a ~short blog-roll of favorites that I shall dine on regularly because they inspire me.

And, just as I have committed to work-out with Richard 5 times a week, I must find some tangible commitment to the mental work-out of writing. Does blogging count?

1 comment:

dallasdiva said...

Abso-freaking-lutely. Blogging counts.