I can't exactly put my finger on what is bothering me about blogging lately. I've tried to puzzle it out repeatedly. If I could divide it into three subcategories it would be:
- Finding time to read blogs.
- Finding time to write blogs.
- Deciding what is the true purpose of blogging.
Let me address them one-by-one. I'm an academic, it's kind of our thing.
1. Time for Reading Blogs. I'm busy, and some days I truly despise seeing that blog reader with hundreds and hundreds of listings I know I'll never get to. It seems to compound the stress I'm already feeling.
I tried to address the overwhelming nature of it-- I divided all the blogs I follow into one group of between 40-60 blogs (primarily people who comment on my blog, or whom I feel I "know" on some level). Then I subdivided that group into four sections, putting between 10-15 blogs in each group. My intention was to then check in on those blogs over the course of four weeks (one section for each week of the month).
---it seemed like a good idea, but the weeks-long process of organizing all those blogs made me so exhausted that I haven't even implemented my system yet. Lookin' at you, March, for SUPER PLANNED BLOG SYSTEM ROLL OUT 2012.
I'll let you know how it goes.
2. Time for Writing Blogs. The more I blog, the more I feel like less blogging is more, for me at least.
It's like Stella McCartney's line for H&M. The idea was that she would bring down the prices of her products substantially (from Haute Couture levels to H&M levels), but to maintain the mystique she produced very few numbers of each piece. Those clothes were, therefore, not special in that they were extraordinarily expensive (as they often are) but because there was a limited number.
Clearly I am not Stella McCartney, and I am also not really considering myself as a marketing project.
That being said, I think there is something in the idea that in a blog-riddled world, one way to stand out is to post less, and make the posts better/more interesting/more painstakingly created. This is not to say that I believe I've created some kind of superior product at all, in fact, I'd say I've changed nothing except that I'm posting less.
Or maybe I only want to legitimize my lack of time. When I look at my multi-page to-do list, I just want to mark things off of it. I have so little time outside of work, family, and sleep-- I want to spend that time making art and writing.
This brings me to question three:
3. What is the true purpose of blogging?
When I started blogging, it was a way to hear about books, learn about craft, get scoop on querying and agents. More than all of that, it led me to my "writer friends" (who my husband still calls my "pretend friends")-- though they are real and true and have already helped me through some major crises. And by that I mean as recently as THIS WEEK. :0)
And I continue to love to meet new writer friends, and hear about the books they love and maybe those they didn't love so much.
But if I'm supposed to be writing, and they're supposed to be writing, and my circle keeps getting a little larger and a little larger with each passing year (which I consider a GOOD thing)... then how are we going to keep at our writing in a way that will lead to success?
A lovely writer friend gave me a real A-ha moment recently when she referenced the movie Julie and Julia. She said, Julie sits down every day at her blog to watch all the comments rolling in-- but you never see her bothering to check out or comment on someone else's blog.
It really made me question what the point of blogging is.
I'll be the first to admit this is a first world problem.
I've started and stopped this post at least four times since January, because I didn't want it to sound whiny.
Truly, I am not complaining. I simply want to know if there is a better way.
What say you, fellow bloggers?
How do you balance writing your own blog, with reading and commenting on the blogs of others?
How do you balance blogging and writing?
How do you define the purpose of blogging to you and your writing?