Why do I keep leaving big gaps in my blog?
The plan is always - has always been - to 'get into a routine' of blogging. To make it part of my wind down when I come home from work, to become so used to writing that my thoughts just flow and it becomes something like a meditation. A snarky, mostly makeup-oriented meditation. But so far, that's never happened.
The BF recently took me to an evening with Jon Ronson, my absolute favourite author and someone I look up to - translation: weirdly idolise - where he talked through the process of writing his most famous book, the Psychopath text. Afterwards he signed my copy, and I was completely unexpectedly starstruck.
But this post isn't about meeting your heroes (he was great though and not at all disappointing). It's about the two things that struck me while listening to the writer who's inspired me more than anyone else.
1: If you want to get good at writing you have to actually do it. A lot.
There's no getting around it. The more you write, the easier it gets, and the better you get at it. All the writers I admire the most and wish to emulate are on record in interviews as writing all the time. Writing to relax, writing to get their thoughts straight, writing to remember a funny moment or a special day, writing to examine themselves. I don't mean to sound arrogant, but I think I'm already a good(ish) writer. But I could be better. I could be quicker at it, and I could be more natural. Too often I feel my writing stray into preachy and/or essay territory, which isn't as interesting as I would like it to be. Because I've had a few posts now which have done well in terms of traffic and exposure, I've kind of mentally painted myself into a corner, where I feel like every post I write now has to top the previous one in terms of viralness, which is tricky when Caroline Hirons tweeted your last post to her 56 thousand followers . And obviously this kind of pressurised approach is neither fun nor conducive to creativity. I don't want to turn my blog into a poor man's buzzfeed.
2: There is a balance to be struck between honesty and vulnerability.
Fundamentally, I'd love to be someone who can write about any old episode from their daily life and make it entertaining, thought-provoking, even funny (something Jon Ronson does incredibly well and the reason I inwardly idolise him as creepily as I do). I want to practice talking about daily life in a way which animates it and gives it a bit of extra meaning, partly because I want to be more like my favourite writers, and partly because I want to move away from the focus on materialism and makeup that my blog has had in the past. I still love that stuff, but I don't want it to be the main focus.
But there's a tricky balance to be struck between sharing honestly - and all the laughs and insights that can come from that - and over-exposing yourself. Feeling vulnerable to other people's opinions and just generally too exposed online was the reason I shut down my youtube channel a few years ago, and I think it's a balance a lot of people struggle with online. But in order to write in the way I want to I may need to open up a little. Lena Dunham (another hero of mine) shares seemingly anything and everything, but I think there is a middle ground to be found between opening up and letting it all hang out. That's what I'm aiming for now.
So I've changed the rather nebulous 'lifestyle' section of my blog to 'Diary Entries'. I want to have a whole section dedicated to chatty absolutely-not-trying-to-go-viral posts like this, which will give me the space to write a bit differently (and hopefully more frequently) than I have before, and which you guys can dip in and out of if you want to. Any thoughts? Do you ever feel you undermine yourself by subconsciously keeping one eye on viral post potential? Let me know in the comments.