It is undeniably true that the last thing the world needs is another blog; there are already more than 150 million out there, on every topic you can name, with the writing ranging from provocative and captivating to what sounds like the high school diary of the kid you were desperate to avoid in the school cafeteria.
Yet I admit I considered starting one.
I did hesitate. After all, there is something so self-absorbed – self-aggrandizing even — about a blog: with all the words out there, the blogs and websites and Facebook “statuses” and Tweets and Instagram pix and movies and TV shows to binge on, the novels (some of which I’ve written!) and poems and short stories (some of which I’ve also written!) it seems the height of gall, of unmitigated chutzpah, to ask anyone to spend their precious time with yours.
Oh, the ego!
Yet I confess I did; I even planned it. That’s why this website has a title, which was supposed to be the title of my blog, tossed into the vast pool of — it’s worth repeating — 150 million blogs already a click away, on every topic from organic lawn care to organic dating. (It does exist; I just checked).
I’ve had a website for years. I designed it myself, using FrontPage, because it came with Word (whose ominous error message inspired the title at the top of this page). I’ve now moved it over to WordPress, not the first time I’ve been forced kicking and screaming into the decade that had just passed. I did it in anticipation of the blog I am no longer writing.
I enjoy designing and maintaining my own site, it’s an egotist’s dream: your concept, layout, tone, and colors, your photos (mostly), your stories and poems and personal essays. I had planned to write — errr, to “blog” — about my life, which has always seemed endlessly fascinating, in assorted fragments that I knew I’d immediately consider revising.
I was haunted, however, by a lesson one learns in life (one hopes), which is also a lesson writers eventually learn (again, one hopes): that it’s not about you. Even though it seems contradictory, it’s true, and probably the most crucial and least understood lesson in writing (and in life). When I see students in my role as a writing coach I say it often.
Yes. It’s not about you! Even if it’s memoir, even if it’s based on what really happened. Even if it broke your heart and changed your life
Now, if you’re writing for catharsis, or to share stories with friends, great, and if it helps you deal with the maddening confusion of life or cope with a devastating loss, more power to you. But if you want to create something enduring, and have total strangers with no interest in you or your life read it, then you don’t count, and certainly what really happened counts even less. And (a big one for most writers), how much it hurts counts even less than that.
In other words I started revising. I pondered, I questioned, I debated with myself. I have a novel out there and a collection of short stories, another finished novel in the hands of publishing professions as well as a book of poetry scheduled to be out next year. So why “blog”?
And with that I revised my blog out of existence. But (too much ego?) I will keep the new “website” you’re seeing now.
You should thank me. I’ve saved you a lot of time.
Or maybe (alas, I’m revising my revising) I’ll change my mind and I won’t.