Lucy Mills has moved!

You'll find all this content, plus more, over at http://lucy-mills.com.


Wednesday, 4 May 2011

blogging: a writer's dilemma


Theoretically, I have been blogging here for four years this month.  I say theoretically, because my stuttering start in May 2007 didn't really add up to much. It was only in 2008 that I started picking up post wise.

At the beginning, any reluctance to blog was a kind of protectiveness, a dislike of laying myself bare. I wasn't really blogging for an audience;  I was just trying to express something. Around that time I started my regime  programme for dealing with CFS/ME, so it helped to put some words somewhere. I didn't get to do much wider communicating, otherwise.

This was also prior to my decision to make writing my reality, before accepting it as a vocation rather than a dream. I was still in the turbulent relationship where I tugged at it and snarled at it and wished it away and wished it back again.

Now, I have found my blogging 'voice' and don't mind using it; I have fallen into natural habits over what I do and do not share, what I consider public and what I most certainly do not.  This seems to vary from blogger to blogger.  Plenty of bloggers post personal photos of their families and friends; I have chosen not to.  These days I allow a photo of myself - I didn't, initially - but I still don't share pictures of others, unless they are already 'public'.  That's my choice, one of the lines I draw.

But the question now is not - do I dare to blog? but Where is the balance?  Because it's not just about time and energy - it's about the writing.  Me as a writer.  I'm currently focusing a lot on my (non fiction) book, which is privately satisfying but inevitably it doesn't 'show' in any way; it is a working towards something that might be published in the future, not an article I wish to get published now.

During Lent I blogged every day over at Thirsty Ground and did a fair bit of blogging here, too.  Now Lent is over, I'm easing the pressure over at TG and deliberately slowing (as if I could go much slower - I take such small chunks of the biblical passage!).  It takes quite a bit of writing energy.  Blogging is writing, after all, and it's important to me that I do, to some degree, craft my blog posts, not churning them out in splurges of feeling or rolling paragraphs with no breaks and strange punctuation and dense sentences that go on forever and ever and multitudes of ands and aggressively overwhelming quantities of exclamation marks - argh!!!!!!

Anyway.

Actually, it doesn't take me long to write a blog post.  The crafting comes quite naturally.  But it's still using writing energy.  Not to mention brewing time. I'm quite the teapot.  Subjects churn and build and brew into reality.  Eventually - hopefully - I write them down.

Sometimes this scares me a little - how many thoughts, ideas, articles and books am I capable of but will never fully externalise due to sheer lack of self-discipline?  
I'm sure I have a point.  Oh, yes.

For a writer, blogging is a dilemma.  It's very positive - a way of practising our craft, of getting into the habit of writing, even a showcase for our work.  A web presence, as they like to say - a touchstone, a vehicle, simmering with possibility.

But it also takes time - time for thinking and explaining, time for tweaking and commenting, for interacting and editing.  All good things, but all things I need to do in my day job.

So - I will blog, but I will blog moderately. There's always a balance. Enjoy it, use it, but don't let it swallow all  your time. It could be said of so many things...

Hold all things lightly.

4 comments:

Lesley said...

LOL - totally with you - I'm a teapot myself... I was better at blogging when I was lying in bed not able to do anything else.. Now I have some energy back I find that the blog is poorer

Perpetua said...

Thank you for these thoughts, Lucy, which are very interesting to someone for whom blogging is her only form of public writing. We all blog in our way and for our own reasons and though I'm very much newer to it than you, some of your boundaries about privacy and time are also mine. I wish you well for the day job and will appreciate the blog posts you decide to make.

Dreaming Beneath the Spires said...

Lucy, on my first blogging anniversary, April 11th this year, I decided to limit my blogging to an hour a day (on the days I had an hour). If I couldn't finish crafting a long post in an hour, I didn't post that day. If I wrote 2 or 3 posts, I save them. Having that frame helps me enjoy blogging so much more--I know it's not going to colonize all day. It's "just" an hour.
However, I find it really, really hard to combine blogging with real, literary writing. I need to pray and pray until I find a solution.
Yes, it draws from the same creative and energy springs as real writing--and at the cost of real writing--sadly!!
Anita

Lucy Mills said...

@Lesley - at no point would I use the word 'poor' to describe your blog!

@Perpetua - thank you!

@Anita - hurray for scheduled posts! I can't literally blog every day. That would take too much precious writing energy, unless for some reason I have lots of free time and energy (sounds nice!)

"The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people, or gifted people, but for deep people."- Richard Foster