One the advantages of having chronic health issues is that it makes me a passive consumer of material (at best), the disadvantage being it renders output next to impossible, which is a bit of an explanatory digression, to explain why I was reading something called “why your blog sucks” in the first place
One of the reasons was entitled “it’s all me, me, me”. I read this, and while I could see the drive of it, eventually I was perplexed about how blogging as a genre would be able to escape this criticism without becoming a mimic of print journalism, and even then without it being collaborative and team based then it would always be a personally biased content.
While I may write a compelling blog following MotoGP passionately and accurately, or with glorious recipes, without anyone else writing it will contain only my choices, my ideas, opinions, picture choices, photos and content decisions and therefore curated or created it is telling the astute the story of me as well as anything else it purports to do, it is in the words of the criticism still all about me. This becomes more apparent as you move to writing in other ways, let along travel blogs or even stories of redemption or recovery, battles won and lost which are by their very nature personal. They tell their story, have relevance, teach, and spark emotion and connection and the very deepest of personal levels, they are all about me, and they form a bond between me and you.
So, was this a valid criticism, in one way of course. I am guilty of droning on about myself and finding ways of justifying indulgent navel gazing, I probably still do this quite effectively, although that is consciously not my intention (at least). What does one do if they want to do if they want to be personal without being over-bearingly about themselves? In my recent productive layoff, not life threatening, however unpleasant and uncomfortable it was to experience, with far too little time to indulge myself in much, except self-pity. Which itself was not worth the effort and instead I found sliding into a comfortable bed of “it is what it is” a much more agreeable way to spend the time, especially given neither painkiller nor sedatives were living up to their titles.
Unwarranted wallowing aside, I am keen to use such downtimes in the most positive way I can find. I want to be chasing happiness, not sleeping after it, and if I can use passive consumption as a mechanism to learn something useful then I will; just as I will note ideas, and play thought experiments and the like out in my head or on paper to give me material. I have even toyed with voice recording, all as means of getting ideas to start the process of creative production by marshalling ideas. The thought I had while lying down one day was “you cannot see what’s in a stew without stirring it!” which I felt with too much accuracy was an apt mental and physical metaphor for that day.
In reality, creative production is all about me, I love being creative and the process of it, however, my goal in sharing is that others can take something positive away from what is created. I know I do not really control what is taken away from anything I create, I can hope for enjoyment or certain emotions or insights, and like any producer I would be a liar to say this was not so, it completely is the case. However, it also completely true that I am happy when someone takes something, that my art gets a reaction at all; positive or negative because both means my audience has engaged with the piece and that is only reason I share at all. In that reaction lie the kernel of thoughts, and thoughts are the seeds of change.