Nov 28, 2008

What/Why am i writing???

Maybe it's a bit early to ask this question. My plan has been to just write whatever needs to come out, then figure it out later. Wait half a year then see if a bunch of bits and blurbs can become a bigger work of merit. This blog, a paid gig (now "Editor at Large") with, and one magazine article (Urban Baby) have all been great ways to test and build my skills, find my voice, generate a body of work that might later be compiled or built upon, gauge reactions, and simply be pushed to produce.

But already the two big writers' questions begin to loom. First, is anybody really reading? I have some website stats and some beautiful emails from y'all to know that the answer is Yes, but when I saw a dour guy on a bus one day with a black t-shirt that said, "Nobody reads my blog" I did wonder if that might be me.

But the real question is, is it making any difference? Is this what I want to write, and is it touching people in a good way? I sometimes get depressed by advice about how to be a successful blogger - catchy titles, tips, 5 steps to... My most recent post is something I've struggled with for a long time and want to share - the idea that we need could reduce our life stress so much just by leaving early rather than late. It was published word-for-word, but the title makes it sound trite and news-standy: The Secret to Finding Happiness in Five Minutes.

Now if that's the title and format that brings thousands of more people to my ideas, then great. Maybe it's just the purist in me that wants people to be searching directly for beautiful probing prose rather than five-minute fixes. But part of me wonders just how much I compromised my family's amazing soul journey to this new life - quite possibly the subject of an entire book - by translating it into a 4-step, 600-word recipe: It Can be This Good: 4 Steps to Living Your Dream.

Ultimately, when I look at the body of work I've shared with the world in these early days as an official Writer, I feel good. I feel like disparate parts of me are being expressed, and in a format and venue that shares my journey with others in a way that might inspire of provoke insight in them. It's a good start, has my creative wheels turning, and is fun. I have to be patient, and remember that blogging is not book-writing, nor even magazine-article-writing (my next goal is to get into Mothering Magazine, or The Walrus, or anything else you might suggest.)

So thanks for reading, thanks for indulging me in a bit of introspection, and thanks to those of you who have shared your reactions to my writing, offered suggestions, even constructive criticism. I don't pretend to be a great writer - don't even know if such a being actually exists, or if there are just a bunch of people like me with a story to tell and the spark and support to get it out there.

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