Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Year Older, A Year More Self-Involved

I have a stack of red-covered journals in my apartment that stretch back six or seven years. I keep them in my bathroom, a little pile of diaries that contain some of the thoughts I've had since I was in my late teens. They've got entries on all kinds of things: weight-loss goals, rants about friends, tear-stained entries about boyfriends (well, ex-boyfriends. Let's keep things honest here), to-do lists, and woe-is-me drama-queen entries about what a horrible person I am and how much I suck, et cetera, ad nauseum, boring. Typical angst from a typical mid-twenties citizen of the world.

I tend to turn to those journals when I'm super emotional. It's those apocalyptic moods where my binary brain can comprehend one of two options: 1) punching a locker like I was a high school hockey player or 2) scribbling down my thoughts in one long comma-free emotional purge. Since my apartment is tragically short on lockers, I tend to write.

And, for the past year, in addition to filling up those red-leather books, I've also been filling up this blog. I have to confess, with the inaugural entry about Chuck Klosterman, I had no idea what I was getting into. I was just ranting. I had just read Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs and I needed to blow some hot air about it. I was seething, I was ranting, I was critical and a little potty-mouthed. Ipso facto: a blog entry.

Since then, I've written about any number of topics. My post on Leah McLaren garnered some decent feedback; my post on skinny jeans regularly pops up when folks google the concept. I've written about proms, girl crushes, names and the CBC. I've blogged about hoisery, Lost and George Clooney. Recently, my blogging has been a little stale. I've been cooped up in my apartment, waiting for the winter depression to become less of a valley and more of a gentle grade. But I never stopped writing.

I've had other blogs before, but those were way more personal, and as a result, way less interesting to look back on. They became little time capsules: they're who I was in the early years of school, right as I was striking out on my own. Now, I'm more confident - I actually have opinions about things that aren't, um, just about me. And this is my one year blogaversary, so it's all in the spirit of internet gabbing.

Blogs should be personal. I'm not saying make every entry about you, glorious YOU! - although that can also work, provided you're not a creepy narcissist who needs a personality recalibration after every day spent on the internet. But bloggers should have a POV. If I wanted pure news reporting, I would read the newspaper; what I want from a blog is a little bit of personality. Even the most frivolous types of blogs - fashion, entertainment, GOOP - are entertaining because their authors bring themselves into the code.

I like to treat my blog like a column. Is that weird to say? Whatever. It's true. There are things I'm not really interested in researching enough to blog cognizantly about - like who Ceasar Chavez is and why folks in the States get so uppity when he's running his mouth - so I tend to stick to things I know about. I've written a lot about bikes, and digital culture, and Toronto. That old saw, write "what you know," is still pretty good advice, even if you're not pounding your masterpiece out on a Remington while standing nude. In the future, I'll probably spout about things like owning a dog or taking Nia classes on the beach.

While you're keeping things personal, keep some things sacred. There are topics that I play close to the the vest: tight-knit family things, co-op stuff, body- and drug-related ideas. I tend to think, if it would make my mom or my boss squirm, it's not for writing about. Some folks have made the whole point of their blogs to be as confessional and personal as humanly possible. Not a bad thing, but just remember that people will find it, even if you think you're writing in a vaccuum.

And on that last note, for the love of god, bloggers need to spell- and grammar-check their work. It may just be a little spot for rants about your parents or a place to post pictures of your best-ever scrambled eggs, but it should be legible. I'm not going to require that your entries in the red-leather covered journals be Pulitzer-calibre work, because those are for your eyes only. But you know how, at the bottom of the webpage, it says "Publish Post"? Please, treat the damned thing like it's actually going to be read by people - published for reals, if you will - and treat your readers with respect.

I've had a blast writing this blog for the past year. It started as a place to rant, slowly morphed into a repository of writing ("Hi! Please hire me for writing gigs! Here's 130 awesome examples of why!"), and has always been a place to practice writing. It may be self-obsessed and passe, but blogging, for me, has turned out to be pretty damned fun.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday Blog!
    Thanks for filling the interwebs with awesome this past year!