Tuesday, April 15, 2014

I had been doing a pretty good job of ignoring the hubbub of the trailer for American Blogger being released. To be perfectly honest, I don't particularly care that some guy is producing a documentary about blogging. If you haven't seen it, you can view it here. At first watch/listen, the only thing that came to my mind was, "Wow, this voice over is terrible. Is this an SNL sketch making fun of this documentary?" Someone clearly made a poor choice there, since I'm pretty sure they didn't want everyone thinking that this was a joke within 3 seconds of the trailer beginning.

Anyway, this post isn't about American Blogger. It's about blogging. Blogging about blogging, how very meta, right? After I watched the trailer, I read a post by Rachel Wilkerson who  is the current Editorial Director of A Practical Wedding (a site you all know that I love), as well as a writer and editor at She has a lot of good things to say about the documentary trailer, but what really got me thinking was the more general thoughts on blogging. Even in my limited experience with the blogging world, there seems to be a theme that perpetuates across the so-called blogosphere. Bloggers get called out for being "fake" or "too perky" or "too perfect". There's no death of posts on humor websites about what we'd write if we were being honest on Facebook, such as this one or this one. Article upon article has been written about how Facebook makes us unhappy or how social media makes us compare ourselves to others. It's no surprise that more often than not, there's someone in the comments section trying to tear someone else down for one reason or another.

On the other hand, bloggers also seem to get ragged on for being "too real". For all of our obsession with peering behind the curtain, we don't like to see too much. Don't talk about your depression, your eating disorder, or your poor self-esteem, that's depressing and boring and you clearly just want attention. Don't show us pictures with a pile of laundry in the background, because if you do that, you obviously don't care about your blog or your persona. Don't talk about how maybe, you're just having a really hard time lately, because no one wants to read about that. There is such a fine line between sharing and being vulnerable in a good way and in a way that makes readers uncomfortable. What's a writer to do?

Everyone starts blogs for different reasons, but at the core is a desire to write, to communicate, to connect. No one writes a public blog if they don't want it to be read; that's what actual, paper, journals and private blogs are for. On some level, all bloggers are attention-seeking, and if I'm being perfectly honest, I think that blogging is self-centered. I think in order for it to be good, there has to be a certain amount of self-centeredness, as that is what gives the blog its direction and personality. Too much of that, though, and again, you run right into being boring. Another fine line.

The part of Rachel's post that stood out to me the most was this:

"But this sentiment that not sharing every detail of their lives means bloggers are hiding something persists. What’s bizarre to me is that that’s…not how the world really works offline? Like, if my coworker tells me each day about the cool stuff she did the night before, I don’t sit around speculating that she’s actually depressed, or cheating on her husband, or secretly a lesbian, or about to go bankrupt. I don’t assume that her life is perfect; I assume she probably has more on her mind from time to time but she isn’t telling me the stuff that’s really mundane or just none of my goddamn business. Again…it’s not that deep. And, frankly, I don’t want to hear all about her proverbial dirty laundry any more than I want to hear about her actual dirty laundry. That doesn’t mean I expect everyone to be all sunshine and light all the time; it just means that, on the whole, I’d rather hear the good parts. And again, considering how bitchy people get when anyone overshares the darker stuff, I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in that regard."

Right before that, though, she writes, "Being a writer or a blogger or creative of any type is about editing—removing the stuff that doesn’t really help you tell a good story," (emphasis mine) and that got me thinking. I've always struggled with what exactly this blog is, since it doesn't seem to fit into any typical molds. It's certainly not a fashion blog, a DIY blog, or a mommy-blog. I guess it fits into "lifestyle" but I also feel like that's not quite it either. I just kind of write; I tell stories, I talk about mental health and chronic illness, marriage, my cats, things that are funny, things that are sad. I try to be interesting and engaging, I try to create content that I think will at the very least, make someone feel less alone or less weird about their life. The best is if I can make someone laugh at the same time. But what is this blog? What is the story I want to tell?

I don't have any grand ambitions for this blog to one day become my sole income. If I did, going to medical school would be a seriously poor investment, haha. What I want this blog to be is something that entertains, amuses, or helps someone else. I want to connect with other bloggers and learn about the world around me, both immediately and far away. I want to leave this world a better place than when I found it, and I while I don't think that this little blog is going to solve a world crisis, if we can all learn to listen and talk to each other even a little more effectively, maybe it will help. Maybe if we can stop picking each other apart and build each other up, it will help. Maybe we can find strength in our differences and our sameness. Maybe we can smile more. Maybe we can not feel so alone.

So anyway, those are my not-so-deep thoughts about blogging for today. For other bloggers out there who may be reading, how did you find your voice? How did you decide how to tell your story? How much do you edit yourself? What do you think of the American Blogger trailer? I'd love to hear it! 

I hope everyone has a good weekend... do something nice for someone and enjoy the sunshine.

To finding our voices,

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