Writing is a lonely profession. So is blogging, sometimes.
The first year and a half that I had this blog, it was a little like talking to the four white walls. There weren’t a lot of readers, and even fewer responses. (Sorry, mom. Your comments, nice as they are, don’t count toward building a platform.)
Lately, things have been picking up. There are more readers, more comments, more emails asking me to clarify or expand a point. That sense of community and exchange of ideas is awesome. It’s what sets “blogging” apart from simply “journaling.”
I enjoy reading and writing fiction. I think it’s an important art form. It has been instrumental in my personal development. So, I write about it. Here are a few reasons why:
Most people have a sense of wanting to share the things that are important to them. Remember when we made “mix-tapes” of our favorite songs and shared them with friends, or even better, with that special someone we hoped to woo? Even before the digital revolution, people collected scrap books and photo albums and souvenirs they could use to tell friends and family about things that were important to them. Most voracious readers maintain a personal library and lend books to friends and relatives. The same is true with people who are heavily invested in music. We learn about new things when someone (a teacher, a friend, a parent) shares with us. Blogging and social networking are simply ways for me to share the things that are important to me. This blog, specifically, allows me to share my love of fiction, and maybe even pass a bit or two of that passion on to someone else.
I’ve been blessed to have some wonderful guides into the world of fiction: teachers and fellow students who have taught me a lot. I love being able to share some of those things with other people. Though I only spent two years in the classroom on a daily basis, every adult job I’ve held has had an element of teaching and communicating at its center. I enjoy sharing the things I’ve learned and helping others push their learning further. By putting some of the lessons I’ve learned into print, it helps me to synthesize my knowledge and turn the theoretical into concrete actions. In other words, when I present ideas (or “teach”) it helps me to learn more than I would if I simply absorb information and never share it with others.
This may sound like an odd point to make in this discussion, but sharing about fiction makes me vulnerable. Wow. Great, Wyatt. And?
Here’s what I mean.
I’m not a perfect writer. I’m not a widely published writer. I’m not a great writer or teacher of writing. But, I’m getting better. And, when I share things on the blog that demonstrate my own inadequacies, I give folks an opportunity to help me grow even more. I’ve learned a lot from interacting with blog readers, and as more people read, I learn even more. What a great position to be in!
Writing is a solitary act, but writers need a community of folks to talk to, to listen to, to learn from. It’s a great side-benefit of having a blog.