NaBloPoMo has given me the opportunity to not only blog, but to think about how much blogging has changed since I started back in 2004. When I started I never meant to really do it at all and I never thought I'd be maintaining the same space in 2012 (more or less, I've moved around a few times). In 2005 I started my book blog and I took that more seriously. In 2006 I started writing for BlogHer and I definitely took that way more seriously. Still though, I kept up a presence on this blog. Until I didn't.
One of the things that has changed since I started blogging, not only with my blog but with many of the blogs I read, is the length of blog posts. It used to be we could throw up a quick and dirty post and it would be fine. Everyone did it! But now... it's different. Blog posts are longer. It doesn't feel right to do the quick and dirty thing any more. That's not "serious" blogging and the people who started blogging when I did are Serious Bloggers.
It would be easy to blame it partly on Twitter. A few days ago I received a notification that it was my 5th Twitterversary. It is now the place for many of those quick thoughts. Why put up a short post when there's this whole other medium devoted to those short thoughts? Plus you can get instant feedback! You can often get more feedback there (or on Facebook) than you can in the comments of posts.
But I don't think it's just Twitter. I was at Blissdom Canada this fall, and one of the takeaways from one of the sessions was that you have to be comfortable sometimes posting crap. Now, the person who said that didn't mean that we should purposely post crap, but that we have to be ok posting content that's not "perfect". I was rolling that around in my brain when Denise posted about the problem with passion. And somewhere in between that comment at Blissdom Canada and Denise's post I think I found the reason I've been having an increasingly hard time blogging the last few years.
I am not perfect. My posts are not perfect. I don't always have perfectly formed thoughts. I make typos all the danged time. But I feel the pressure of perfection. It's easy to feel the pressure to be perfect because there's always someone out there who can do it better. There's always someone out there who is funnier, who can write better, who has a better grammar and doesn't make typos. There's always someone who takes better pictures and can tell you why you need to SEO your posts. There's always someone who could tell your story better.
I need to be clear, I'm not blaming anyone else for being the reason why I haven't been a good blogger the last few years. It's all on me. I let my fear of not being perfect -- of being found to be less than -- keep me from the keyboard. I let my fear of "not doing it right" stop me from using my voice. I had decided that my posts were not polished enough. They were not funny enough. That there was no point in posting about how we spent a September day staining our deck and blaring 90s music through the neighbourhood because my pictures weren't good enough. I tried to convince myself that I simply didn't have anything to say. I tried to convince myself that I had said everything I had wanted to say.
I started to think that my stories just weren't enough for a blog. That a post had to be long. That I need to be about the writing and the craft.
The stupid thing? I know all of the things I wrote above are complete and utter bullshit. No one needs to tell me that and I'd be fighting to be the first in line to tell someone else the same thing.
Thirty days of blogging every day has taught me that I do have things to say, even if they aren't perfect.
So how do I move forward? By posting crap. Unapologetically.