Tuesday, April 13, 2010

the art of blogging: part one

I've been thinking a lot about blogging lately, and I'm slowly coming to some conclusions. I've decided to share my thoughts - and questions! - with y'all in three parts, so as not to overwhelm (or bore) any of my readers. 

I started blogging seven years ago, on a website called Diaryland, which still looks almost exactly as it did in 2001. We called them "online journals" then, and I was spurred to create one after reading an acquaintance's god-awful journal and realizing hey - I could totally do better than this! Thus, my first blog was born, and I initially used it as a way to document my semester studying abroad in Ireland.

Since then, I have had a few blogs, the latest of which was born while living in Houston, unemployed, bored, and looking for something to distract me. (This was before Twitter, Facebook - it was even before Myspace!) Since the beginning, my blog has been about me. What I do, what I think, where I go, my hobbies and interests and diversions. I have made no qualms about this and I have enjoyed documenting my life and telling my stories.

Which brings us to the present day. Lately, I don't feel the same drive to document in the same way. I'm not as open on the Internet as once I was. I find myself quieting down, looking inward, keeping my stories to myself. I still love the community of the blogging world, and I still subscribe to over 150 blogs and websites, which I do, in fact, read daily. I'm just not sure what my contribution to that community, that world, should be.

Perhaps this is a good sign - focusing on Myself (my blog is called The New Me, after all) isn't as fulfilling as it used to be. I want to look outside myself, or at least relate myself and my experiences in a way that makes them fodder for others, in a way changes someone's circumstances for the better. I'm not saying that blogging can change the world, but I am saying that I don't do anything without thinking, "Hey, maybe this will connect with someone. Maybe it will inspire them. Sure, it probably won't change the world, but it might alter some small corner of it. And maybe that's enough."

What is the best way to do this? How can my blog fill the need I have to share, be creative, and build a community? What is more important - art, or appeal? How much time do I want to devote to blogging? How much time to I have? Does blogging make me a more productive writer, or is it an illusion that makes me feel like I've produced? These are questions I've been asking myself, and I'm hoping that blogging through them might help me find some answers. If you have any thoughts on this subject, I'd love to hear them in the comments, or through the emails.

Thanks! And stay tuned for Part Two!