Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bloggistential Crisis

Lately I have been wondering about purpose. What is this blog for? Is it accomplishing what it should? Should I be doing something different? something better? Ever since reading two or three blogposts about how to make your blog better, get more readers, increase traffic, etc., I have been intermittently paralyzed from blogging, or writing at all, with the perpetual question: is this any good? Will anyone want to read this?

Often I treat this questions like flies, swatting them away without much thought. They are annoying but short-lived. But these are flies that hover around the "New Post" button on blogger, and, as I do with any pest-infested place, I have been avoiding that "New Post" button, and even more, the "Publish" button. This is a problem! I'm not a blogger if I don't blog. I'm not a writer if I don't write. I want to live in my identity as a writer: I need to write. And so I need to face my fears.

I have been noticing more and more that the unexamined fears are the most troublesome. They nip at my heels, they growl at me from behind. They are always behind me, you see, because I never look at them. I studiously avoid eye contact, because in order to look at them, I would have to acknowledge their presence. Unlike wild beasts, these threaten me more by the fact of their presence than by harmful actions they could take against me.

In truth, when I look my fear in its yellow eye, it wilts like a scolded dog. It turns tail and disappears under a car like a stray cat. Simply by acknowledging that I have been afraid, I diminish my fear.

My fear here: I am afraid of being judged and found wanting according to some unwritten standard. I am afraid this blog will be a failure. --But when did I sign a contract subjecting myself to the judgment of the internet? The internet may judge me (most likely by ignoring my existence), but its judgment has no real force in my life. Why am I allowing it to have force in my heart?

The problem is, I have no idea what the purpose/mission/goal/raison-d'etre of this blog is. Or rather, I have several ideas, and sometimes they get along but sometimes they fight each other. Sometimes I think I keep this blog so that people can read my writing. This is scary because what if no one does read it? What if it's always just my parents reading? Sometimes I think I keep it because I write different kinds of things here than I write in a journal or an email. This is less scary. I am the only one I have to satisfy. Other times I think other things. It gets messy in my head and then I just stop writing, for a while. But I come back. I come back because, even though I can't tell you exactly what my purpose in writing here is, I know I have a purpose, or a hundred fragments of purpose, and I also know this blog doesn't have to be a mere means: it can be its own end.

My purpose in keeping this blog is to write, and to write well. Goodness is its own justification, and I don't have to write the best, the most, to write well. So here I am, and here I'll be.

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