Pitfalls of the Blogging Writer
There are many things I love about being a writer. There are many things I love about blogging. But sometimes, being a writer who blogs can be a real drag. Actually, being a writer has a number of pitfalls. I live in constant fear that I'll mispronounce the word "nuclear." I worry about undetected grammatical errors infiltrating my daily speech. Writing a quick email is never quick or easy. Words are my trade. Unfortunately, those very same words are what we English speakers use to communicate. So every written or verbal interaction is like a landmine for writers. One false move or double negative and BOOM! Not good.
I love using this space to tell stories. I also love that it's a place to make you laugh, share truth, and generally form and kindle connections. That's what I love about writing in general. So when I'm quiet for a few days (or nearly two weeks), it's not because I'm not thinking of you, dear reader. It's because I feel constrained by my role as Writer, capital W. I want to stop by and say, Hey friends, how's it goin'? It's cold and snowy here. Oh, and I've been working on a cool project. What's new with you?
But that's not very story-ish, now is it? (Plus, dropping the letter "g" from the ends of words could get me in trouble with the word police.) Even writing this post feels like a cop-out. In the back of my mind, I'm always aware that what I write on this blog can be used to judge me. Of course, that's true for all of us who blog or share our words in a public way: There's always the risk of judgement when we put ourselves out there. But that's a whole different emotional animal that deserves its own series of posts.
I mean that I know that potential clients and editors can come here and judge the quality of my writing or the content of my posts. I have no statistical data on this, but I believe that what I write here may be a factor in whether or not someone hires me. So I feel an unspoken pressure to make sure it's always good.
But that kind of pressure in this kind of format leads to no writing. While I often use this medium to share stories, a blog is something different than a book of essays. Sometimes I wonder if I should make it more like an online publication and less like my little corner of the virtual town square. But I've developed real friendships and made good professional contacts as a result of blogging. Erasing the community quotient from this space doesn't feel right.
I'd like to know how those of you who make your living creatively feel about this topic. Do you feel like everything you write must be a reinforcement of your personal "brand"? (I know, I know: many of you hate that term.) Does this issue of quality control impact other artists as much as it does writers? What about those of you in other fields? How do you balance staying in touch and building community with the need to provide quality content on a regular basis? And while you're at it in the comments, How you doin'?