by julie swanson
This is the first time I’ve ever blogged. Well, sort of. I tried it once before and didn’t like it because I started doing it only to promote my book and toot my own horn and that felt slimy. I know it’s not really–as writers we have to promote our own work –but if I blog, I’d like to think I do it for some other reason, if nothing else than to share what’s important to me, what interests me, what I’ve learned that others might glean something from as well. So I’m giving it another try and starting when I have no new book or anything to promote. Maybe I’m just deluding myself, but my motive seems a tad bit more pure this way.
Blogging is scary and I’m not sure how to do it. One thing I know is it’s not the same as journaling. I journal daily on my laptop, sometimes just a few lines, sometimes pages. I’ve journaled since my mom gave me a little Holly Hobby diary with a lock and key for Christmas back in 7th grade. I still have it and all my journals from over the years. Fun to look over, but full of stuff you don’t share with the world. I tend to pour out what’s bothering me and work through the possible solutions, weigh the consequences of each, and decide on a course of action, or inaction. Journaling helps me vent, work through feelings, make sure I’m listening to my head and my heart. I record things I don’t want to forget, things people say or do, daily happenings, ideas for stories, for revising, musings on things I’ve read or movies I’ve seen… Sometimes my entries are more like free verse poems or prayers, prayers of thanks or, “Help, I don’t know what to do!” or “Here goes, I hope this is the right thing, guide me…” So my daily entries are a personal and professional mish-mash, very unorganized, streams of consciousness interrupted with down-to-earth notes in bold like “Get Butter.” I don’t like anyone reading my journals.
But I don’t want my blogging to be stiff and impersonal, so guarded, another reflection of my tendency toward perfectionism. Here I hope to allow for a typo, let myself be a little long-winded, go a bit unedited/uncensored, not worry about satisfying the gatekeepers… I’d like my blog to be professional yet casual and genuine. Not bare-your-soul personal, but a real sharing of depth. I realize there’s a fine line to be careful of, but I hate small talk. I’m thinking of this as opening up, introducing myself to the world, to readers and fellow writers, saying what’s important to me, what I hope is important to others, getting to know people through any comments they might leave as well. So blogging is daring to let others have a peek at who I really am, it’s trying to connect with anyone else who might be on the same wavelength. Other than the stories I write (only one of more than a dozen has been published so far), this is my only way of speaking up in the world outside my family, friends, and community. So whether you care or not, I’m going to begin my blog with a series of posts in which I tell what I’m into, the things I love, that make me happy or occupy my thoughts a great deal of the time, that I’m passionate about and want to share about myself.
I hope you’ll read something in my posts that makes you smile or say, “Yes!” That’s what I love getting out of reading, especially when it’s the first time you’ve ever connected with another human being on something. You think you’re the only one who ever felt or thought a certain thing, the only one who ever noticed it or saw it that way, and then you see it expressed by another person and you feel a little less alone, a little less crazy. We are not alone; we are all a bit crazy.