Birdbrain: small, streamlined, intuitive. Not such a bad thing.
I have really come to despise all commentary on the state of blogging—what it is, what it should be, who’s the hottest blogger, etc. etc. It’s all just a little too self-conscious for a medium that should still be fresh and spontaneous. When Technology supersite Techmeme recently cranked out the Leaderboard, a list of the web’s 100 most referenced blogs, one observer noted that what differentiates bloggers from other journalists is simply that blogs are not edited.
Upon reading this, I realized precisely why I have been such a hot-and-cold blogger. First of all, I’m an editor by trade—deeply valuing brevity and concision. Personally speaking, I edit myself constantly (for better or worse) conjuring a level of self-analysis that is perhaps at odds with the blogosphere itself.
As a result, in this time of tumult and transition these last few months, there have been days when I’ve consciously refrained from blogging. Frankly, I’ve not fully trusted myself to write something relevant to my overarching theme of professional and creative fulfillment. When I’ve managed to squeeze out time for writing, often all I felt like doing was ranting about the giant cockroaches in our rental house, bemoaning the impenetrable traffic on the Atlanta freeways, or cursing all the money that we’ve accidentally spent setting up house in a place where we don’t even know we’ll stay.
But who wants to hear that crap?!
On one level, my discretion has got to be a good thing, right? You, dear reader, are presumably visiting this space to inspire yourself toward bolder career moves—not to hear personal drama or trivial details. But on the other hand, because they are (by Techmeme’s standard, anyway) unedited, blogs allow more of the author’s personality to shine through than traditional media often does.
For me, this has got to be the hardest thing about blogging—deciding if and when to divulge the dark, saucy bits of my own life, and (more importantly) making those relevant to my essential message. Struggling with that has really made me respect the pros—the people who do this all day and do it well.
When the one year anniversary of Escape Artist (formerly known as RealJob) rolled around on September 18th, I almost ended the blog for good. I was exhausted from the move, and desperate to catch up on a backlog of magazine pitches, grad school applications, and personal projects. I kept going, and I’m glad I did. I’ve passed some difficult milestones, but my quest for a more satisfying creative life and career continues. As long as it does I want to keep this space open and evolving.
As I plough ahead with more searching, deeper transformation, and (inevitably) more transition, I hope I can trust my writing skills a little more. On these pages, I want to temper my penchant for self-editing and let go of some inhibitions, writing more frequently and more freely—cockroaches or come what may.
Overanalysis blocks us from taking the steps that we need to take the most. In the oh-so-important blogosphere and in life itself, it’s our charge to forge ahead.