I’ve noticed Twitter friends who feel that they want to start writing a blog but who are having crises of confidence. I’ve been writing every few days or at least once in every two weeks and I can’t give these friends any assurance that once they start writing their confidence will magically return. Mine certainly hasn’t and I’d hazard a guess that writers far more seasoned at their craft than I am, also agonise and worry about what they’re going to tell their unseen public in their next instalment.
My blog niggles at me. I’ve always been an observant person and particularly so when around my co-humans. I started making notes on what I observe within only a very few weeks of starting my blog. I know it seems to be a very writer-ish thing to do and I have to agree that my scribblings are a help but it still slightly goes against the grain and I don’t feel really comfortable about doing it. I’m not sure why but making notes seems to be so intrusive. I’m writing about what I’ve seen a person do or heard them say – or perhaps only a brief description of an expression on their face and what I’ve noted may or may not reach the “published” blog page – but I’m doing it all without their express permission. And that seems so wrong – but I keep on doing it.
Some of the very funniest tweets on Twitter are by @stevyncolgan whose observations about his fellow rail passengers on his way into work are a sheer side-splitting joy to read. His blog is The Unbearable Oddness of Stevyn. His descriptions are just the tiniest bit cruel which makes them even more amusing. Is that the same sort of observation I make but - as yet - don't publish? Am I alone in sparing a thought to those whom I observe?
Some of the friends who agonised have actually taken the plunge. They were so worried prior to their first posts and they really need not have been so ... each and every one I’ve read has been both interesting and well-written.
I wonder if the fear of putting our thoughts, opinions and allowing people to glimpse into our way of thinking into the public domain are the elements that are so frightening? Even if I write about “things” rather than “people”, those are still my thoughts that I’m expressing for public consumption. They are a little bit of “me” and I find that scary. Even scarier than submitting articles to magazines or tinkering away at the book I’ve been trying to write for the past several months. Why scarier? Because as soon as a finger hits that “Publish” key, a bit of “me” is out there and open to comment – immediately. And yet I welcome that comment. For the most part it’s been encouraging and that which hasn’t been so positive has been useful and I’ve attempted to learn from it.
I still don’t question my motives too much about why I’m writing. I write because I write - because that’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do. And I more than likely hit the “publish” key because I may just be a bit egotistical. Although I wouldn’t say it was solely my ego that makes me want to be "read". That’s just the easiest reason to express.
I subscribe to and read quite a few well-established blogs and I find that I’m learning “stuff” at the same time as being entertained. I’m learning about space which I was never really even interested in (too much of a “boy thang” for me) but the blogger is @nick_space who is Professor of Experimental Physics – Space Research and who is a wonderful, witty and informal teacher. His blogs, Spaced Out (Again) are gripping – and not always just about space, either! A self-deprecating barrister, @Mennard, describes, so beautifully, afternoons in Court and embarrassing dinner parties with neighbour’s brazen wives. His blog, The Story of Mennard, is chockful of descriptive writing so gentle ... and so very wicked. @sambrook tweeted recently words to the effect that blogging doesn’t pay the mortgage. No, it doesn’t – but – in his case - it should because his blog, Sacred Facts, mainly about News and the Media, comprises some of the most well-crafted writing I’ve come across and he’s good at spelling and grammar too! I’ve recently started to read Victoria Coren’s blog – so naturally written ... well, not only does she write for The Observer, she’s also the daughter of the late, lamented Alan Coren. She can write!
Reading some of the more well-established blogs is almost like being a part of a masterclass. Almost ... it IS a good feeling but it still doesn’t take away the fear that this novice blogger goes through ... nearly all the time – because as soon as the “Publish” key is pressed on a completed blog, my thoughts turn to the next.
And I shall keep on writing and keep on pressing that key ... basking in the kind comments and hopefully learning from others.
Would I encourage anyone else who’s thinking of writing a blog to go ahead? Of course I would. Everyone’s got SOMETHING to say – and what you have to say might just be of interest to someone else.
And, anyway, why should I suffer alone?