Posted on 22 June 2011
I have been blogging off and on since 2007. It started as many blogs do– an unfocused, sporadic journal about my own life and subjects– mostly music– that caught my fancy. I blogged regularly while living in China, mostly as a means to vent (it can be a tough country to adjust to). Upon returning to Canada, I drifted in and out. I created a “personal” blog that was much like my original, and a music blog that was supposed to be think pieces on Canadian culture. Both of those chugged along for a while before ultimately disappearing.
The problem in all these cases, I think, was that I was blogging for someone else. To a certain extent, I wanted to write stuff that other people would want to read. And so I tried to do it regularly and in an entertaining manner, attempting to mimic existing successful blogs. And inevitably I just wound up linking to other people’s stuff in an attempt to remain current. I wrote some posts that I’m proud of but others are just throw-away photos or references to other people’s work.
Over the last few months, I finally feel like I’ve found my voice for blogging. In part, it’s because I’ve got other outlets to share my less-substantial thoughts on. Twitter is where I put out links to things that interest me, and Tumblr has evolved into a great place for me to post daily music tracks, some personal photos, and links to other people’s writing that I enjoy. They lets me scratch an itch while leaving my blog for more substantial work.
I’ve decided (or, more accurately, come to realize) that my blog is a place to put long-form, original thoughts. I’m inspired by others, but I only post something if I feel like I have something larger to contribute to the conversation. That helps give it a voice.
The other thing that helps give it a voice is that I no longer write with the purpose of getting an audience. Basically, it’s like this: if something is on my mind and I feel like I’d like to explore it further, I turn it into a blog post. If there’s nothing there, I don’t write about it. I’m not a news outlet. I’m not a music site. I’m a person with questions and viewpoints and thoughts and blogging gives me an outlet to express those. I write for the purpose of working out my own thoughts. And for that and that alone I would recommend blogging, even if it’s just you saving Word documents on your personal computer.
But what’s so gratifying about this is that even though I’m not writing with the purpose of attracting a large audience, an audience is out there. It’s small, but bigger than I would expect and apparently growing. I see it in the traffic to my site. I see it in retweets and “likes” and comments. When I write things like my pieces on the Vancouver riots or yesterday’s post on issues of prejudices facing Aboriginal Canadians or even how I came to like hockey, I am not chronicling my personal life, but I am chronicling things that are personal to me– in some ways MORE personal than what I had for breakfast or where I went last Friday night. And so seeing that other people care enough to read these things, and even better SHARE them with others, is fulfilling in a way I never expected. People I’ve never met are interacting with my thoughts, disseminating them, and building on or even arguing against them. I’ve received emails and feedback on a variety of subjects, and I’m always happy to hear from other people. It’s unexpected, surprising, and something that could only happen in this day and age. So to all of you who have read or are reading– thank you. I truly appreciate the feedback.
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