I am a writer.
I am a mother. I am also wife-lover-partner-mate. Daughter-sister-aunt-neighbour-friend. Citizen-voter-kinda-wanna-be-an-activist-but-too-cynical-to-really-make-that-work-volunteer.
I am a deadline-meeting-craving-negotiating-not-really-your-employee-but-I-know-you-sign-my-cheques-and-I-will-deliver-what-you-need-when-you-need-it-professional.
I am so many, many things; I have so many roles, facets, hats. Some I carry always (mother-wife-friend-writer), some I put on and off (cyclist! Except, no, not this month). Sometimes I wear/am six at the same time. Sometimes, one swallows me entirely, eclipses all the others (and if you have children, you do not need to ask which one).
I am so many things, all these things.
What I am not…
I am not a blogger.
(I am not a lawyer-dentist-mechanic-nurse-gas-station-attendant-preschool-teacher either. Nor an eco-warrior-homesteader-radical-homemaker-stay-at-home-mom-academic-marathon-runner-yogi. Do not take what I say here as an attack of a role you embrace, cherish, an identity that defines you. Be who you are. This is not about you. This is about me.)
I am not a blogger.
I have a blog.
I write a blog.
I play in this wonderful place I’ve created and keep on creating. I love my little Nothing By The Book platform. Writing here fills me, feeds me, pleases me. It is part of what I do.
It does not define who, what I am.
(But if it defines who you are, do not frown, get angry, throw nasty things-words at me. Wanna be a Mommy Blogger? Be that. Love that. Jane Austen was once dismissed as a “lady novelist”; does anyone remember the men who labeled and reduced her as such? Humour blogger, homeschool blogger, fashion blogger. If it fits you, wear it, flaunt it. This is not about you. This is about me.)
I blog-write chiefly for me: to create a record of what is; to play with what could be; to process what sucks; to celebrate what rocks. And also, to practice, fine-tune my craft, my skill. There is no other platform a writer writing today has that offers both the freedom and discipline a blog does:
- The freedom to write on whatever impassions you—and to play with structure-voice-rhythm-delivery in a way no editor-client will ever, ever tolerate
- The discipline of writing publicly, for an audience.
That means I also, inevitably, constantly, each time, write for you too.
Writers need readers.
(Short digression: Writing for self is completely different than writing for an audience: if you’ve kept a chaotic, self-indulgent, angst-filled diary as a teenager, you know this. Writing for self is—and perhaps should be—undisciplined. And it has its use, its purpose. But keeping a journal does not make you a better writer. Just a more self-aware one. Writing for an audience—regardless of whether it is an audience of one or an audience of hundreds, thousands, millions—is about sharing something, evoking an effect, a response, a reaction. It requires discipline. Thought. Skill. Craft. Blogging hones that.)
I am a writer.
Not a blogger.
That means my energy in this place goes into—writing. Creating. Re-writing, re-crafting, letting things simmer-marinate-develop-change. Loving what I’ve written. All that other stuff—commenting, Tweeting, sharing, hopping, you-read-me-and-scratch-my-blogging-back-and-I’ll-scratch-yours? Meh. I don’t care. I’ll play, every once in a while, if I want to. I’ll read you, religiously or sporadically, if I love you. And sometimes, I won’t. Often, actually, I won’t. Because being mother-writer-partner-provider-community-member-human takes up a lot of time.
And that’s the way it should be.
I have been telling my cyber-tribes for about six weeks, more, that I’m penning The unBlogger’s Manifesto. I’m worried I’ve oversold and undelivered, because, you see, this is not about you. It’s about me. My priorities, my goals, my clarity. Of what I am. Of what I am not, and do not wish to be.
But, beloved… make it about you. What are you? What are you not?
Clarity’s a rather glorious, if elusive, thing.
For ink-casters-and-word-players, blogging-parents-and-not of all genders, citizens-and-tourists-of-the-blogosphere, and “real” readers everywhere, but most of all for my “Bloggy Sisters.” You know who you are.
P.S. “Jeezus, Jane, you’re not gonna go all navel-gazing and self-referential on me going forward, are you? Because I do not come here to read about the ‘to-be-or-not-to-be’ of blogging.”
“No, beloved, never again. Just this once. But I might inflict some writing about writing on you. Because that’s a rather important hat-role-identity. That cool?”
“Maybe. Just don’t bore me.”
“Never, my beloved. Never. I promise.”
But Jane, you’ve removed the self-inflicted angst about blogging! Whatever shall I whine about if I internalize your manifesto? I know you wrote this for your clarity but thank you for what it gave to me. xo
But Jean, think of all you could do with that whining-freed up time! ; P
Writing your own manifesto is a brilliant idea. Thank you!
If you write your own, tell me about it.
A magnificent manifesto eh? “Marvellous!” Methinks.
Thank you. 🙂
You are welcome ma’am. Blogging is for enjoyment. The moment it becomes a chore it’s time for a break :).
Whatever gives you clarity, right? I got clarity when some evil hacker cracked my blog. But wait? Was he evil if I got clarity out of it? Probably, it’s still not nice to use someone else’s creation for your own, whether it’s hacking or plagiarizing. Hmmm..
I will agree to agree Jane.
The picture I see, is I write for people who really want to/need to/are interested in what I write. Not for other bloggers, which becomes the case when you become “a blogger.” Don’t read me because you feel obligated, I will not return the favor.
You have not oversold. You hit the mark just where I figured you would. Thank you.
Clarity comes in the most bizarre ways.
I wish I were writing more and blogging less BUT the blog thing. I like the interaction. Sometimes, when I’m writing, I feel like I’m growing mold on my teeth and in my hair and when I laugh out loud in a room alone, I don’t know whether anybody will laugh with me. Blogging gives me that. But. I think I want to be an unblogger too…
xo to you sweets. You rock.
Nothing wrong with being a blogger if that’s what you want to be–are. But I’ve learned over the last 18 months that I’m not, and don’t want to be. The writing thing makes me dance. Everything else is a chore. Except occasionally, when it isn’t. And my life is too full of other chores and obligations, you know? I don’t need to fake-manufacture any more.
“But, beloved… make it about you. What are you? What are you not?”
Oh Jane, I LOVE this! I feel I need to ponder that question more… I do consider myself a blogger, and a writer and yes so so much more. This is wonderful!
Happy pondering. In a mindful manner, of course. 🙂
I own a blog where I can showcase and share what I write…what’s in my heart, soul etc. I don’t care if anyone likes it. It screams me and if you don’t then well, you kill puppies.
I keep my focus on what it means to me to write. When it becomes a chore, or a pain in my ass, I step back. Write in a journal and refocus. This is why I write.
Cheers for I am NOT a blogger either! I am a nurse. And a gardener/earth-work artist. With a glog. I paint, but don’t paint often enough to call myself a painter. I’m a good cook. My writing is generally decent, occasionally good, rarely great. But I’m not a writer. I agree with all the benefits (you wrote of) of blog-word as it benefits one’s writing. I’m only a mom to 2, not a “mom” on the Internet. I wrote a manifesto called “Clouds in My Coffee” that sort of defined my identity as a non-mom blogger awhile back (where I believe I listed yours as an excellent example of mog-dom). I also turned my About page into a manifesto of sorts. Manifestos are the bestO! I’m a real reader and I always catch your posts (and Draped in Cloudlets, Rubbish Day Blog, and humblemountains but thats pretty much it). So seeing as how I’m not a bloggy sister, I’ll be your gloggy sister!
I just went and looked for Clouds in My Coffee. Here it is, comment readers, SpyGarden’s Manifesto: http://spygarden.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/24-clouds-in-my-coffee/
Thank you for being a real reader. And glorious you for know what you are and what you are not.
I love this too! I need to write my own manifesto. Seriously. It might give me more clarity with my relationship to this thing called “blogging.” Great post!
Thank you. Write away.
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Jane, I could not agree more with you about how blogging is the only place where you can write what you want for an audience. It’s a rare combination. That is chiefly my reason for writing a blog too. When I start straying away from this recognition, I start to hate blogging. I usually find my way back, though. It takes trusting my gut more. I’m getting better at that!
Glad to hear that. 🙂
You most certainly did not underdeliver. This was glorious. And as often is the case, made me want to do better. This was perfect. You rock.
A kindred spirit!! Or maybe it’s just in the 2014 air?? BB2U http://bohemianbabushka.blogspot.com/2014/01/an-epihany-during-epiphany.html
“No quiero, don’t want, and you can’t make me!!” Love it.
Wait. I quit before reading this. Now I know why. xo
I wouldn’t call it quitting. Redefining, refocusing, repurposing?
OR! You write in it once a year and when they charge you the following year for your domain you yell “oh shit! right! I forgot about that BLOG thing I have” and then you write one more post because you just paid for it. Again.
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Oh, how I love this!
That’s more or less how I see my blog.