To be honest, blogging didn’t exert any kind of deeper fascination on me before the past winter. I didn’t have a public blog of my own, and barely read any other blogs, except if I landed on them repeatedly from Google searches.
I’ve always regarded blogging as an extra-curricular activity, an additional effort that would consume my time like a starving mutant-termite, and wouldn’t offer much else in return except for awkward socializationg, a.k.a. online small talk that never amounts to much more than “Hm… yeah… kaythanksbye,” and “Wow, you’re a writer? OMG no way, me too! Isn’t that awesome? Let’s be awesome together!”
I hate small talk, in real life, virtual life, the after life, everywhere. Really hate its squiggly guts. If you meet me at the coffee dispenser and try to small talk me, you’re gonna get a stare and an “uh-huh”, or if you’re particularly funny at 8 a.m. (or I need you to sign a paper later), a smile and nod. Then I take off like Road Runner, balancing a coffee mug in one hand, and the mace Sauron forged for me out of fortune cookie wisdom in the other. I use that to club nonsense out of my way, ’cause you know, the corridors of life are narrow and the levels timed.
Last autumn I was asked by my friend and writer Renee Miller to help out with a new website she was working on, called OnFictionWriting.com, and do some managing editorial stuff when the time allows. This brought the subject of having a personal blog back to the front for me. I reconsidered having a camp fire of my own, on which I can roast my own marshmallows. But I was still not completely convinced my crazed fascinations and dubious opinions would actually interest anyone except me.
Then I stumbled over some really great blogs, and my gears started turning. Once I got on Twitter, I met more and more interesting people, some of which are intoxicatingly witty, others insanely productive, no-nonsense fiction-forgers. They have become very important to me and constant sources of inspiration and encouragement. And I thought… why the hell not? Why not try to do what they do?
Why not make blogging an exercise in diversification? Why not use it to sharpen those writing skills?
As a writer, everything you do is training. Everything you read, everything you write, every greasy napkin you smear your notes on is valuable practice. Even blog posts. Especially blog posts. They’re the keyholes people can peek through, and see straight into your mind. They are tiny snippets of your world, like movie trailers or cover blurbs of The Story Of You. They have a huge potential to generate enthusiasm, curiosity and thirst for more, while at the same time teaching you how to focus your shit.
Yeah, but, you know, “if a tree falls and no one hears Big Foot scream from underneath it,” — actually means “if a writer says something online and there’s no one around to read it, who gives a shit?” Writing, blogging, and all other forms of storytelling require exposure and communication. The audience is your gauntlet, the fist-machine that knocks your writing into shape. But where to get yourself some of that without sacrificing your prized goat?
Enter: A to Z Blogging Challenge.
The month of April has been a very rewarding ride for me, writerly-wize. Who’da thunk that blogging on a regular basis teaches you discipline? *cough*
However, the most important in this challenge were the people.
I’m really greatful to the hosts for offering everyone this opportunity, and keeping it together neatly. The blogs I’ve discovered during this challenge have led me to some pretty smart guys, and allowed us to dip into our common passion for writing fiction in a very easy and straightforward manner.
I’m truckloads of thankful to the people I’ve met due this challenge — epecially Tracy Brown, J.W. Alden, Jaye Robin Brown, Kern Windwraith, Cindy Dwyer, Adam Gaylord, Jay Noel, Guilie Castillo Oriard, but also Dazediva, Amberr Meadows, Jolie Du Pre, Jen McConnel, Corinne OFlynn, Leslie Hedrick, A. K. Fotinos-Hoyer, Andrew Leon, and maaaaaaany many others. They’re what made this challenge absolutely worth it for me!
So, to wrap it up:
Blogging regularly = invaluable writing practice,
Signing up for challenges = plenty of awesome comrads,
Licking batteries = bad.
This experience was a total blast for me, and I will definitely do it again every year. Thank you all for being yourselves and rocking it! You guys make the blogosphere a much more interesting place.
And now, here’s what the past month has felt like for me.
I started out somewhat… reluctantly…
Then, after I tried to devise a plan, the situation only got worse. Somehow, I felt like being on the wrong side of a bargain…
But there’s nothing that can’t be dealt with through honest, hard work. Or just randomly smacking the shit out of your keyboard. Admittedly, I knew I wanted to blog about writing, but what exactly… that just… kinda happened.
But farkin hell, there was so much to write…
There was no way I was going to keep it up.
And what for?
Why do all this to myself?
Ah screw it.
Then I realized…
There were so many great people, so much encouragement!
I couldn’t believe how much more fun blogging was when there were so many crazy people to blog with!
And then — finally —
I had made it! I had survived, and the spoils were freakin’ awesome! I had content, I had new friends, I had a lot of fantastic new blogs to chew at.
It felt so damn good!
So now, hell yeah I’m gonna do it again next year! And I’ll do my damn best to make it even better!