A Place to Understand, to Think, to Explore
I have a blog. I’ve had it for over 10 years, and yet there are long periods when I don’t write. Last year, I started out strong and was regularly adding posts, often as a result of exploring my new city of residence. I had a good run there for a few months, and then one day I just stopped. I have always struggled with the pace of articles, of blog posts. It seems to me that they are all about commenting and writing on things in the moment, as things happen. In many cases, I haven’t digested the topic enough to write commentary on it. And I think, perhaps I’m not that type of writer; after all, I didn’t do journalism in school. I have always found the immediacy to be a challenge, and when I got behind on my in-the-moment, I-just-did-this-fun-thing type of posts, I fell off completely. At one point I thought I might do a retrospective, perhaps reflect back on some of the highlights and therefore introduce some of the things I had neglected to post. I liked the idea, but didn’t act on it.
Recently, I explored the why of this situation. Why not just write anyway, about whatever, on a whenever timeline that makes sense to me? Why not ignore this pressure to produce immediately? Why not just write for the sake of the writing? The answer from my inner critic to that last question is to stick to the journaling, no need to be public about every thought. And yet I still want to write. There are topics which I have been thinking on and exploring for many months. Reading articles, trying to make sense of how I feel; I’m scared of those topics too. Scared that I will be pilloried for even attempting to address the topic at all, I’m not an expert. Why should anyone listen to me?
In conversation on the why and why not of writing, a friend proffered an alternate concept. I am someone who has often gone down the path of self-exploration. I have followed my curiosity on a wide variety of topics (not sports and finance, but generally anything else) and I should continue to be curious. She said that writers are the storytellers, an important part of the human experience, and the human system of understanding. I enjoy exploring ideas with people, why should it be any different with writing? I can offer a disclaimer on those topics I feel may be inflammatory – to let readers know that I’m exploring and I want them to come with me.
With this new understanding, I can think of my blog not as a news source, but as a place to understand, to think, to explore. I want to believe that what I have to say (write) is relevant and worth reading. I want to believe that I write, not just to help others understand a topic, but because it is self-exploration for me. I want to be brave enough to believe, brave enough to write.