I’ve blogged for the better part of sixteen years. Now is not the age of blogging. The age of blogging was somewhere circa 2007-2010, coincidentally right before–and as–Facebook descended upon the world.
Nowadays people can’t read a post over 900 words. That is if you can even get them to click off their social crack site. Nowadays people don’t interact with anything you’ve said, not really. Long gone are the days of drawn out comments directly on posts with impassioned back and forth. Gone even are the short and sweet comments of encouragement. For a few years these just moved over the the Facebook “share” link, but even those have mostly died off in favor of a thumbs up, heart, or–most likely–a simple scroll right on by.
So I was surprised when I posted a question on Facebook this morning lamenting the burden of time in my current sober status, coupled with continuous broke-ness, and wondered if there might be a paying side gig out in the world for me. Multiple people told me to write. To keeping blogging, to publish articles, to chase my dream of a book someday. To keep on. And yet? When I do these things I’m so often met with overwhelming silence that I’ve began to believe people find my writing and blogging inappropriate or even annoying, at best. At worst, selfish or self-serving.
I wonder, then, why people think a writer should (and can) continue their craft in solace and silence, with no compensation or kudos. This is not the the pre-internet days when people toiled for months or years before presenting their product to a single sole. Nowadays I can sit down for twenty minutes or an hour and present a small snippet of life or perspective or beliefs or experience to a wide audience. Instantaneously.
And then either the feedback rolls in or the silence resounds.
There’s nothing easy about putting yourself out there. There’s nothing particularly rewarding about letting yourself be seen in such a raw and unraveled state. I wonder often why I do it and occasionally challenge myself to shutter and stop. When writing does happen for my I struggle inside myself to pin down who it is for. I land on myself. I pad my feelings with the belief that I don’t need anything from anyone and that I can only allow myself to be so vulnerable if I’m not attached to any particular outcome, acclaim or outcry.
I guess all this is to say, that I’m surprised by the lackadaisical attitude many seem to have about writing/blogging/publishing. Like it’s a somewhat effortless endeavor if one should be so talented and to share is no skin off one’s back. Like it doesn’t alter my life and occasionally limit my options. Like people don’t look at and treat me differently. Like it doesn’t affect my relationships and alienate my allies.
This writing costs me. And I often wonder what, if anything, I get in return. So I’m mulling the fact that people would suggest to me to continue writing to increase resources in my life. I’m wondering if that’s an option, a realistic outcome. What does it mean that people are encouraging me to do something that so often feels so thankless and even verges on exploitative?
I don’t have the answers. But I thought I’d put the question out there.
It’s what I do.