Brother: What’s up Red? I just read Country Guy, City Life; I think that was favorite post so far.
Me: Really? That one didn’t seem to go over well.
Brother: Well I can kinda see why though. I think I liked it because I know Atlanta, Alabama, and you. It was really personal. More than likely if someone reads that one, they’ll be thinking, “Why would I leave Atlanta to go to Alabama.”
Me: Ahhh… Gotcha. Didn’t see it like that.
When I first started this blog, I quickly realized that blogging could easily turn into journaling. That is not what intended to do. In fact, that’s my biggest issue with a bulk of social media activity — “Who cares?!” is what I ask when I scroll past a check-in, relationship update or a picture of your dinner. Of course you will post random pics of you and yours friends and spouses at different locations and festivities, but I should not be able to account for nearly every waking moment of your day. Some parts of your life should remain exclusive, and not just the emotional death that over-posting is sometimes used to mask.
However, after I started blogging, I felt as though I had found a social media that works for me; one that would be a bit more difficult for me to critique. There had been many occasions where I had scrapped an essay because it did not meet the criteria that I had set for the purpose of the blog. If it doesn’t share a constructive outlook on life, or concerning something of literary relevance, or even the occasional comedic relief, I deny it. So when I received this criticism from my brother who is currently attending college in New York, it forced me to reevaluate the post. As he explained it to me, “The students up here know very little about Alabama, but Atlanta is way more popular than you might expect… And besides, they don’t know that 99% percent of our family resides in Alabama. It’s a really personal post, bro.”
When I went back and read the post, I could tell that most of it came from the frustrations of my own monotony combined with the pageantries that are city life. It was something the was written predominately personal emotion that pertained only to me and the way that I was feeling at the time. I had, metaphorically speaking, posted my dinner to Facebook. That should be a testament to the subtleness of blogging though. It’s a very relaxing (and productive to a career writer) way to keep the wheels of creativity going, while networking and learning through others. But if sight is ever lost of your purpose, you can begin to treat your blog like the ever trusted pages of a diary and forgetting the presence of an audience. And you know what happens next? You’re a weirdo with a webpage, that’s what happens.
If your blog is not meant to be personal, it takes a bit of diligence to ensure that it doesn’t happen. It’s another curve that I had to learn and I think that it would be unfair for me recognize something and not share to others who may fall for the same thing. I read a few blogs from beginners like myself to see where, I could improve and I found that it is not to uncommon to see the patterns of posting something that lacks relevancy. Then on the other hand, the blogs that are in fact more personal to the author are usually exceptionally good. That is just too much exposure for me. Like I described in Writing and Schizophrenia, sometimes the person in real life, is not ready to be shared with the online world of strangers. It’s a fear that most writers share — but if you ever want to get over it, start blogging.