Thinking about what I should write for my 300th blog post gave me a case of bad writer's block. I've been staring at this blog since Thursday, fingers hovering above my keyboard, thinking, "300th post. Better write something good to celebrate." Something good... uh oh...
Then Heidi, a friend of mine on the Medusa's Muse Facebook fan page (see side bar) suggested I write about the way time relates to writing. "How much time it took you to write all those posts that you weren't using for something else and to realize that all that time adds up even if it feels like you are always struggling to find time to write"
This is one of the reasons blogging and social networking appeals to me. Here I am, sitting at my desk all alone, trying hard to think of something to write that will entertain and inform, my muse a.w.o.l. (Johnny Depp won the People magazine "sexiest man alive" contest, so I think she went to France to verify that he is indeed THE sexiest man alive), when suddenly a woman who joined the Medusa's Muse fan club responds to my question "What should I write?" Just like that, I am no longer alone in my creative pursuits. My audience is immediate, the feedback instantaneous. There's a connection between me and my ramblings and there's a real woman from Oregon who reads those ramblings. It doesn't matter if 4 people or 40 read my work, just the knowledge that SOMEONE is reading encourages me to keep on writing.
That's what keeping this blog and putting time into social networking has given me: the proof that I no longer write in a vacuum. Writing is so lonely, no wonder writers put rocks in their pockets and take a walk into a river. We write thousands of pages, much of which will never be read (and probably shouldn't), all in the hope that someone, somewhere might want to read them some day. I am not famous or well read by internet standards (I typically have 22 "readers," far below the thousands that other writers get), but that doesn't really matter. What does matter is that I write, and if having a small audience encourages me to keep writing, then social networking and blogging have done their jobs.
Of course, spending too much time networking can take away from my writing, so there has to be a balance. I could spend all day reading Twitter updates, but what is the point of that? Does any of it encourage me to write? I do enjoy the comments and the links people post and I try to respond and share good information as well, but the goal is that I am encouraged to keep writing (and perhaps sell a few Medusa's Muse books along the way).
Blogging has trained me to be a focused writer. I write two or three posts each week on numerous topics, sometimes imaginative and other times purely informative, and while I write these posts I ask, "So what?" Why would anyone want to read this? What am I giving my readers? This is a tough question every writer has to ask about their work. No matter how much you love the prose, is the work giving something to the reader? Or is the writing just about you? I can self indulge just like any writer and sometimes I write a self-absorbed post just because I can. But ultimately, I try to give something of value to my readers.
Thank you everyone for encouraging me to continue writing, blogging, and ruminating. I will continue to do my best to provide interesting and helpful pieces in the next 100 posts.
And next time, I'll write what Heidi suggested.