Blogging is dead! Long live blogging! Well, my blog is dead, anyway. Sure feels like it.
I haven’t felt this pressing need to write like I did before. I’d love the reason for that to be because I’ve established healthy boundaries of what I keep inside and what I share online, but I think we both know that’s a lie – a quick scan of my social profiles reveals more than you should know about me.
Maybe it’s because I now have a monthly post on BrightRock, and the pressure to produce to brief dissipates the desire for creative writing…or maybe it’s more cynical than that? Why write for free when I write elsewhere for money? Hmmm…
Or maybe it’s because I joined a Facebook group for bloggers, and I’m jaded by the group dynamic – the know-it-alls, the bleggars, the self-righteous, the holier-than-thous and the shameless braggarts. (Yes, look, I also don’t know why I just don’t leave that group, either…seems so obvious, right?)
It could be professional jealousy…how do you compete against the shit-hot writing of Bad Tennis’ Dale Ferreira, or the humorous cynicism of Tom Eaton, or the evocative prose of Dorothy Black? Sure, I’m not a professional writer like Tom or Dorothy, and I know that like Dale they work at their craft every single day. I’ve never wanted writing to feel like a slog, the daily grind – I’ve always been an inspired writer: an epiphany blinds me and words flow like very flowy things onto the page. I can’t tell you how many of my posts have magically written themselves, the words running out my finger tips and onto the page, with hardly any conscious intervention from me, save a spellcheck here and there.
Sadly, my Writer’s Meh is none of these things. It’s far worse. As dramatic and devastating as death-by-global-cataclysm. For the past few months, I’ve really battled to express myself. I have a thought, and that thought – when articulated – bears no resemblance to the thought in my head. I can’t make myself be understood. (I know, I know – the perennial artist’s pain, not being understood.)
Let me give you an example: in the office, discussing a bio that has been briefed in and produced. The boss does not like it, and wants something stiffer, more formal, corporate and dry. I know in my bones that’s not the way to go – we’re not a bank, or a government department. We’re more casual but still a highly professional outfit. I need to explain that the audience determines the tone and pitch of the content. So I try explain this, verbally, and it comes out like “Who’s gonna read this?” and as soon as I’ve said it, I know I sound like I’m challenging him in the most disrespectful way, so I try reword that, and in my rush to undo this professional faux pas, I fall over my words as if English is not my mother tongue – oh, and also like I have an anxiety disorder that I am treating with caffeine pills laced with all the cocaine in the world. Yeah. It’s not a great look on me.
That dis-articulation is not just verbal, though – my usually verbose inner voice is giving me the silent treatment. The replacement voice can barely string a short, simple sentence together.
It’s a mess, and I have been feeling so disconnected from writing that I’ve just stopped. Plus – it’s 2017 – is blogging still relevant? Are we now not all ephemeral vloggers fading out in Instastories cross-posted to Facebook and SnapChat? Who reads any longer? Am I not just shouting into the void?
If only there was a reader. Just one…
Well, turns out there is – at least – one reader of Bloggsy Malone. I’d pretty much decided to turn off my blog. Unpublish and delete all the content. I had already started by deleting my original blogs over on blogspot and had started handpicking content to unpublish here on WordPress (well, you need to be super careful what you publish, when you live in Dubai, don’t you?) – I was all set to completely delete Bloggsy Malone when Mel sent me a message: “This is my bestie Bryony, she doesn’t know you but has been reading your blog for two years…..she loves your journey and misses your blog. She’s a big fan.”
It was like a sign from the universe. Don’t pull the plug. Not just yet.
So – there’s life in longform blogging yet. We live to publish another day. I can’t tell you how incredible it was to receive that message. Power!
Thanks Bryony, and Mel. Here’s to you!
© Dave Luis 2017. All Rights Reserved.