The writer of a blog I've read fairly faithfully the last year or so recently announced that he was stopping, at least for now, but perhaps permanently. Since I always looked forward to his posts, I will regret his absence.
His final post made me stop and ponder this process. He admitted keeping it up had become a chore, not the pleasure it was when he started. And he felt he placed too much emphasis on the volume of visitors to his site, taking pleasure when the numbers ticked up and frustrated when they went down. (I am paraphrasing here a little I think. I hope my understanding of his position is correct.)
The Liar is in it's infancy compared to the departing blog. And yet, I already understood and empathized with much of what he said. When I realized that I too had some of those feelings, I went back to my first couple of posts, tried to remember what drew me to the process and compared that to where I sit today.
In my first post I said that I didn't really expect others to read my little efforts at written cohesive thought. That I was doing this for me, not for them. I forced myself to rethink those statements and decide if they were true when I said them and if they are true now.
I needed to reevaluate for two reasons. First because while I said I didn't expect others to read my writings, I find I do pay attention to any post that garners comments. I periodically check how many times my profile has been viewed, feeling a slight thrill when the number jumps up. And I have taken to posting any Liar updates on Twitter to announce to my, albeit quite small Twitter universe that there is a new update they might want to go read.
The other reason I questioned my initial statement was I have about 10 unpublished posts in various states of editing. I open them up periodically, try and work on them, then get distracted, save the edit again then do something else. I have finally come to the conclusion that I haven't finished any of them, because they are about topics I don't really care about, or they have been edited in such a way that they have lost the important kernel that means so much to me.
Finally, it dawned on me that I was trying to write posts that I thought others might want to see, rather than writing posts that said what I wanted to say. Big difference.
So, where does this leave me?
I started this for myself. I did it because I thought it would make me a more disciplined writer. I needed a routine, a responsibility that compelled me to write on a somewhat regular schedule. I did it to help me improve my writing skills. To learn editing brevity and hopefully stop using 15 words when 1 will do. I did it so I would write honestly about issues I care about, because I know that I am more honest if I am in a venue that offers at least the remote possibility someone else might see it, than I will ever be with myself, in my head. And I did it because I love to write, regardless of whether I have any skill or ability. How good I am with connecting words into readable and enjoyable sentences is not nearly as important to me as just writing.
I understand that if I am going to keep writing in this venue for any length of time, I must write about what I want to write about and I must say it the way I want to say it. If I don't I will quickly lose interest and start looking for another option to meet my needs. If someone happens across it and finds it interesting, that is wonderful. If they don't that is OK too.
I realize that I will continue to be happy when I have evidence that someone read what I wrote. I will continue to do the limited amount of self-promotion I do now. But the words and the topics and the voice will be genuinely mine.