Psst…wanna read my journal?

In the grand scheme of things, blogging is like asking a complete stranger to read your journal. I feel as though I’m standing in in an alleyway, in a trench coat, clutching a leather-bound notebook filled with thoughts written down in ink from a fountain pen. I try to catch the eyes of passers-by, hoping that someone—anyone—will stop and flip through its pages.

That might be preferable to actual blogging. The product is the same: I write down what I’m thinking about, try to make sense of the ideas that I have. But instead of keeping it to myself, I send it out into the ‘verse, into the domain of the nameless, faceless hordes, hoping that I can connect with someone who will get something from what I write.

The more I think about it, blogging is also like putting training wheels on your writing machine. For 300 words, I’m trying to capture a reader’s attention. Regularly. Some days, lots of people visit. Others, I hear only crickets. I get used to that inconsistency. I cease to think that it is because my prose sucks. I begin to realize that it’s because I am standing in an alleyway, instead of the middle of the street. I wonder how this new knowledge will help me with the most important part of my writing machine, the one that gets the stories out of my head and onto paper, the one that leads to books.

As a storyteller, I’ve struggled with the decision to spend time writing anything but my fiction. But blogging has taught me how to write in bursts about something important. Sure, it might take time away from that pesky second novel. Maybe, hopefully, one of the virtual passers-by will stop, take my journal out of my virtual hands, and flip through its pages.

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