Tuesday, June 15, 2010

hey, stranger

I thought that when the semester ended, so would my blog-posting drought. not so. Turns out, it's gotten worse.

It's not like I've not had anything to say. It's just that I've been afraid to write. Yes, afraid. I've actually been afraid of my own blog.

Go figure that one.

Writer's block is, undoubtedly, the manifestation of the fear that, while you may have something to say, it has no value whatsoever, compounded by the fear that even if it does, you are not good enough to do it justice. It skews your perception of your audience, transforming them from receptive readers to judgmental vultures. It wreaks havoc with your ability to distinguish good writing from bad. And it makes your own writing pale in comparison to everyone else's. And you know this because you're holding it up against everyone else's.

There's a story--I have no idea if it's true, but it's certainly believable--that Brian Wilson had quit his SMiLE project back in 1967 after hearing The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper album. The masterpiece had already been made, he decided. There was no way anyone could come close to such greatness. It took Wilson almost 40 years to finally complete the project. And while it may have lost something in the newer technology, it is nothing short of an Opus, a beautiful composition, a story exquisitely told in music.

My books, and certainly my blog, are no SMiLE, no Sgt. Pepper. I'm not aiming that high. I always strive to write the book I would want to read rather than write the great American novel, whatever that means. I strive to write the blog I would want to read as well. But lately, I don't know what that blog looks like.

How many times have you been down this road with me before, when I've had an identity crisis with my blog? How many of you have been with me from day one, remembering the old incarnations? I've come to this crossroads yet again, and I'm not sure which road to take. Does it even make sense to keep a blog when I can accomplish just as much elsewhere in 140 characters or less (and often be twice as entertaining)? Is this a writer's blog, or a reader's blog? I've even thought about writing pieces of fiction here, but I'm too afraid of piracy and plagiarism.

If any of you have words of advice, ideas, suggestions, or examples, please do share. I really would love for this to be a place you want to visit regularly, someplace you enjoy, where you get a fix, a laugh, a burst of inspiration. I'd love that to be true for me as well. So tell me, what's the blog you want to read?


Larry said...

I will read anything you have to say Elisa. You are a lot more interesting that you think.

Elspeth Antonelli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elspeth Antonelli said...

First comment removed because of the embarrassing errors I found in it AFTER I posted. I will never learn.

Anyway...here's what I posted:

I think you have to decide what its purpose is - and what you're willing or wanting to do to achieve that purpose. If the blog gives you joy, then continue. If it doesn't, then stop. Or change it to something that does give you joy. Communication can be through all sorts of paths - maybe this path is done and a new one has started.

Or, maybe I'm full of crap.

Elisa said...

Thanks, Larry and Beth.

Beth, excellent advice. I need to really figure that out.

Oddly enough, while listening to Duran Duran on the way to the coffeeshop today, I found myself composing a little piece called "In Defense of Andy Taylor" and thought, dammit, why don't I post *that*?

I'm thinking of transforming this into a Gen-X blog.

"We'll see," said the Zen Master...

Anonymous said...

I, too, enjoy anything you write. You have described the writer's block dilemma to a tee. I could identify with every word. But, I agree that a blog should be something you would enjoy reading, yourself, and that is how I write mine. Some are deep and insightful, some are light and humorous, but all are cathartic in their own way, too. Write on! I'm reading. And I love your tweets, just as much.

Elisa said...

Thanks for the encouragement, dannio! I shall have to figure it out. :)

Cruella Collett said...

Yup, been there, done that; or am there, doing that, actually, as I get these flashes of low self confidence all the time - with my blog and with everything else I write. I think I have a dozen or more blog posts half written, abandoned midway because I thought they were no good. Sometimes I was right, other times I can read through them weeks later and realize it only takes a little more work and we're there.

It's part of the process, I think. Good luck overcoming it! :)

Elisa said...

Thank you, Cruella -- good luck with your blog and writing, too!

Debbi said...

Seems like you're doing great, Elisa. Just keep up the good work!