Hello blog, my old friend. I have – with equal degrees of non-success, kept a blog for going on 10 years now. I have never really built a rhythym of posting, or a readership, or really got what I wanted out of it.
Initially, I wrote a blog because I was lonely. And it’s difficult to see self-indulgence when the mirror has no back. Before blogging I belonged to various mailing lists and a couple of telnet-based chats. I wouldn’t join in much – just occasionally writing screeds of tightly wound nonsense, usually while drunk. Blogging was part of the same thing, really – just barking at the moon. Someone! Please! Pay me some attention!
But not too much.
At various times I tried to write poetry or short fiction via the blog, but it didn’t really work out. It’s also not much of a substitute for letter-writing (I used to write epics up until my mid-twenties – probably until I started working online, in fact). I never really worked out who I was writing for, or to.
The most ‘successful’ period of the blog was when I simply used it as a statistical diary. A web log, in the formal sense. How many words written, miles run, idle thoughts wasted. It did at least serve some sort of purpose, and it is vaguely amusing for me to review it once every couple of years (I’ve taken most of my old blogs down over the years).
I keep a blog – and this domain – purely because I still live in the perhaps naive hope that I will be published, that somehow documenting the process will be worthwhile – or from a marketing viewpoint, necessary. But again, this lack of clarity of purpose leads to a lack of engagement – from me, from my non-existent readers. And as a writer if your heart’s not in it, then why should you expect a reader to care?
And blogging itself – well… the internet winds have shifted – first to social networks, now to twitter, soon to short alliteral grunts via facetime or somesuch, who knows? An augmented reality feed straight into your neural cortex -> Walk down this street and see it as Paris Hilton sees it! Think like Justin Bieber. Taste like Neil Gaiman. Etc. I’ve been there at or near the beginning of most of these ‘phenomena’, but not really established a use, or a niche, or engaged much. I just kind of wander in, reserve a username, fumble about a bit, and then realise that my online life pretty much mirrors my offline life.
For someone who has made a living from being a creative generalist (damned with faint praise) and generally solving problems in some form of creative fashion, I have been remarkable uncreative in my online activities. I have not started memes. I haven’t made pretty pictures which other people have stolen without attribution. In fact, damn it, I don’t think I’ve even had any of my blog posts hoovered up by some emo high school student and shared as her own angst. And everyone has that claim to fame….I have not become a guru. I have not become anything much.
When I left my last employer I had some re-career training, trying to re-focus into a copywriter, or features writer. Anything with the word ‘writer’ in it. Except underwriter. That would have involved an even longer hiatus. Anyhoo, I had a very pleasant day writing with a journalist (I was the only person on the course) who asked me what my specialism was. And I couldn’t really answer him, beyond the life and times of me (and even then, my friends, parents and ex-girlfriends have quite different versions of that topic). I know a little about a lot, and what I don’t know, I know where to find. I can’t pretend otherwise.
So anyway, next year, as Del Trotter would have it, there will be change. And blood. Possibly, depending on what I get for Christmas. I will find something to be good at. And, if necessary, tell people about it.
Otherwise, I think it’s probably time to let this blog persona go. I’ve just done a cursory edit on the above (is it just me that always expands things when they’re editing? I’ve never known a shorter second draft, but I digress) and I realised I was vaguely enjoying myself. I like putting one word after the other. Playing with rhythym. Tangentalising. Making nouns into verbs. And word soup.
But that’s what the novel is for. I haven’t written any of the second novel since May. I’ve been busy doing nothing and being generally inefficient. In fact, I’d like that as my epitaph – ‘generally inefficient’. Perhaps there is a little of the Dougals Adams spirit left in me after all.
This blog. Generally inefficient.
Be excellent to each other.