Sunday, January 31, 2016

To whom it may concern

Nova Ren Suma has a lot to say about the long hard journey to finding your place, and it's inspirational in its own right; I recommend reading the whole thing. But I wanted to riff here on one particular line, which isn't the main focus of her post: "I was much better at blogging (and had more readers!) when I was angsty and unpublished and wanting to drown a box of rejection letters in the sea."

I think a lot of factors have contributed to decreases in blog readership generally over the past few years, most of it involving the wearing-off of novelty and the proliferation of new social media platforms. Yet I have noticed that, as Nova Ren Suma said, there are bloggers who blog more when they're having difficulties, just as I tended to keep a diary during the worst times in my life, the times when I most needed to vent.

I also notice, and I think many of us do, that some blog posts that draw the biggest response are those in which we openly discuss our problems. This is probably because people respond to honesty, are relieved not to be alone in their own pain, and/or want to reach out in comfort when they see someone suffering.

All this is making me think about online presence, what it is and what it's for. It can be promotion and marketing; it can be a performance. It can be the simple desire for communication, the establishment or continuation of a community. It can serve as a vent. It can be a mixture.

I started this blog because I wanted to talk about writing, and I didn't know many writers IRL. I loved the idea of having my own little platform out here in the world, for whoever cares to stop by. I suppose I've continued it for the same reason, which is also the same reason I write in general. It's even better when there is an exchange, when someone comments, but I keep on writing regardless.

I'm doing a lot of writing for myself lately, which is why I've been blogging a bit less than formerly, but I'm still here. Still reading blogs, too.