The Lint Factor

I have gazed at my navel. It is deep, but not unending. This is my 26th blog post and if I didn’t know myself, I’d refer myself to a good therapist. I’ve got another 5 drafts waiting to be rolled out.  Conventional wisdom says that you should “write what you know”. Ouch. 5 posts down the road and I might be tapped out.

My blog posts started out meekly, touching lightly on subjects that I had an interest in but that were not as personal. Now I’ve got skin in the game. The ball has started rolling and I’m a little worried about where it might end up. I’ve only lived 45 years, so at some point I might need to be a real writer and come up with original, non-navel oriented writing. Frightening.

When I started researching blog writing, it was to meet a goal: do something, anything that would make me write regularly. I’m already discovering the pitfalls of having such a friendly community. You start to hunger for the numbers, the praise, the mere acknowledgement that what you are doing is enjoyable to others. You start imagining your words through other people’s eyes. You start editing with an audience in mind. Your voice shifts slightly with painful self-consciousness and your narcissism is rewarded for acting out.  Writing starts to feel less natural, less enjoyable and more like work.

Maybe it’s my midwestern work ethics. I hunger for the struggle, the indicator that tells me I have earned what I have reaped.  It’s not supposed to be easy or fun or fulfilling without the blood, sweat and tears.  I have a feeling that the “struggling writer” portion of the program is about to begin. This is mildly better than the “starving artist” plan. All that navel gazing made me hungry.

20 Comments on “The Lint Factor

  1. I think it is a normal evolution to start writing with your audience in mind. Surely the point of any creative work is to engage with others, and show them who you are and what you stand for? Editing is then just a way to ensure your readers will really understand what you meant to say.
    Well, that’s the way I see it anyway 🙂

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    • You make valid points, but I also think a writer needs to start from wherever they are in their evolution. I am a writer who has always been afraid to be read by others. I have to shut down the self-consciousness and put on blinders just to allow other people to read what I have written. Thinking about audience at this point is an obstacle, not a guiding editor. As you say, that may evolve as time goes on, but I’m not there yet. Lead the way!

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      • I see what you mean. I can relate in some way I think; I used to be terrified of what people thought of my work, any work, to the point where I would actually hide or destroy anything I created.
        I have got to a point now where I don’t give a fig anymore. Or more to the point, I like when people like me (and yes, I have a small celebration for every new follower), but I have stopped taking it personally when they don’t.
        I am not sure how the change came about, whether it is beating depression, or becoming a mother, or just finally “growing into my skin”, or a bit of everything.
        For what it’s worth, your writing comes across as genuine and heartfelt, and through your posts I have an idea that you are a wise, humorous and thoughtful person.

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        • Thanks for the positive feedback. I feel quickly-suppressed glee at likes, follows and comments, which are followed by mini-panic attacks (what do I write now???). I believe I’ll get beyond that and be a little bolder in my writing at some point. It’s a fun ride getting there, though!

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      • I have always loved your writing, and am glad that you’re doing it, and that I found you. Would it help you to know who I am?

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        • I would love to know who you are – if you are on Facebook, you can contact me there if you don’t want to use a public forum. Thanks for the encouraging words, regardless!

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  2. Well, can I just say that I really enjoy all of your posts? I love the way you write and can always relate to some aspect of what you are saying. For me, the anonymity of blogging helps, you have no idea who is reading and that’s okay. I try to connect with people through recipes; others use stories, we are all using what we have. I can’t wait to read your memoir someday, I think you must have an amazing story to tell.

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    • Thank you for reading and giving the kind feedback. I definitely think the sense of anonymity is a huge bonus in being able to write clearly and honestly.

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  3. I know what you mean; it’s easy to get caught up in the Likes and Subscribes. Sometimes I almost wish to remain very undiscovered so they won’t impact the writing. I try to follow the old adage: To thine own self be true. I guess one needs to find a balance between caring and not caring about the reader, and I suppose that balance different for each of us. Kind of the classic push-pull on the artist.

    I have one of those small whiteboards that currently has 27 Post-It notes on it spelling out post ideas. And a notebook with many more rough ideas and thoughts. I always have pen and paper handy in case some random thought ignites a light bulb. The past, your thoughts and feelings and opinions, the people in your life, conversations you’ve had, your pets, television, movies, music, other bloggers… all grist for the mill!

    Sunday I got a blog post idea from being stuck behind a bad driver! Right now I’m working on a series of seven based on TV shows I’ve loved.

    The hardest thing is the blank page. Editing is way easier. So if you’re stuck, just write and don’t think about it. Don’t worry about how it sounds or flows, just write. Then go back and rework it until you like it.

    This comment is a good example… I meant to write a short one! 😉

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    • My favorite part of the process is always the editing. I love cutting a post down by about 30%. I feel like it’s more respectful to not pander to an audience. If they like your voice, then you come by the follows and likes honestly. If you pander, then it says more about how you feel about your own writing than it does about them. Right now, I love having exchanges with other writers about the process – it’s very enlightening.

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  4. When I write on any of my blogs, I don’t have an audience in mind, and so I can’t write ‘for’ that audience. I love getting ‘likes’ and ‘follows’ and comments, and feel wonderful when I get them. And I will go read what the ‘liker’, ‘follower’, or commenter has written. I may not like their blog on a personal level, and that’s okay; I don’t expect everyone to like mine. I no longer take it personally when someone doesn’t like me (online or in person!) I am me, and it’s taken me 60+ years to get to where I am. I have also learned that it isn’t a good thing to change because someone else thinks I should (I’m stubborn that way – LOL).

    So for me, blogging is a way to write for me; I love writing and this way I get my ‘fix’ and can then go write stories to my heart’s content and maybe put them on my blog, and maybe not.

    And I’ve discovered I sure can ramble, too. So sorry for rambling, but I love the way you write and what you write, so just keep going!

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    • I think blogging has been a great way to practice being publicly read. I’m getting ready for a writer’s workshop that runs through the next couple of months. Soon I’ll be dealing with a lot more criticism and editing requirements. It will be nice to continue writing in a more friendly environment after the beating I’ll take there!

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  5. After you’ve been blogging for some time, it’s interesting to see how your posts have evolved.

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    • I am definitely curious as to where I’ll end up. Expert bloggers advise picking a focus, but I’m still all over the board. I’m hoping my vision/sense of purpose becomes clearer at some point. Thanks so much for reading my posts.

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