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Life in the Blogosphere: Why Are We Here? (Part Two)

I concur with Karen’s enthusiastic endorsement of Writer’s Digest. The insightful articles they publish always cause me to think in a new way about why I enjoy writing so much and how I might improve my written products.

Currently, in a feature entitled “Becoming Intimate with Your Own Creative Impulses,” author Julia Cameron is interviewed. After publishing my post last Sunday about why so many of us are spending significant amounts of time and effort blogging, I was particularly intrigued by her explanation of why she writes:

For me, writing is a way to metabolize life. It’s a way to make life more understandable, it’s a way to make life more comfortable, it’s a way to make life more interesting. It’s a way to make life more passionate. When I picture the writing life, what I’m talking about is a life where writing is your dominant response. People can learn to do that. They can learn when they have their feelings hurt to get on the page instead of on the telephone. They can learn to keep a notebook next to them and write when they’re in gridlock traffic.

I certainly relate to her words. Blogging is for me and, judging by the response I received to last week’s post, a way for a lot of other folks, as well, to make sense of what is happening in their lives and the lives of those around them. Writing is a process by which we synthesize and evaluate our thoughts and feelings. Sometimes I check to see if my ideas pass the “publication test” — if they make sense on paper or the computer screen, perhaps they will make sense coming out of my mouth later. In that respect, writing not only imitates, but is a rehearsal for, life. If more of us could learn to, as Ms. Cameron suggests, write about our feelings and process them using the keyboard or pen, perhaps there would be fewer words spoken that we later wish we could “take back.”

Of course, I have also experienced the opposite, i.e., I have hit “send” only to wish later that I could retrieve the e-mail before the recipient receives it. I have also experienced disagreements with other persons because e-mails, written in haste, have been misinterpreted, either on my part or theirs. Unlike in person or telephonic conversations, the written word, unless carefully crafted, lacks inflection that provides meaning and context, and can lead to conflict. Part of the problem for me is that I type too darned fast. I have to consciously slow down, re-read and, perhaps, save e-mails as drafts. Sometimes emoting through writing is extremely valuable and cathartic . . . putting all that emotion away for a few hours or days, though, provides an opportunity to re-read, edit, filter, and analyze before sending the message or publishing a blog entry.

Jeff commented that he has a “love hate relationship” with blogging but, as I explained above, definitely finds it “therapeutic.” Psycho Dude shared that he develops new perspectives by reading about other people’s lives in their blogs, but that, as a form of diarying, blogging doesn’t quite compare to “that little book with a lock on it hidden in some dusty location in a dark corner of your room.” I agree with his assessment — there is something “mystical” about a hand-written, private journal that is missing from a computer file, even if password-protected.

Given the number of folks, including Lorie, who told me that they quickly started and abandoned various types of “specialized” blogs, it seems clear that in order to be effective writers we must make an emotional investment to the work. I believe that to be true, irrespective of the type of writing you are doing, although the level of emotional attachment may vary from one project to the next, depending upon the surrounding circumstances such as the medium in which the work will be published, the audience to whom it is directed, etc.

For those of you who feel that your emotional investment in blogging might be too great and/or that the activity is occupying too much time or importance in your life, Ms. Cameron offers wise counsel about keeping things in perspective:

I think it’s very important to have a life in which we write. I think that when writing becomes too dominant, it gets leached of its own power. We spend more and more time writing and we have less and less to write about. So I think it’s really important to keep a rich enough cultural life, a rich enough emotional life, a rich enough visual life and a rich enough sonic life. We don’t often talk about the fact that writing is all about rhythm. When you get too up in your head, you can lose a lot of your writing. Sometimes what a writer really needs to do is go dancing.

Ms. Cameron also explains that “if I take the time at least once a week to consciously focus on bringing in images by a long walk or a creative adventure, something I call an artist’s date, [ ] then I have a richer inner flow when I try to tap into it.” During the coming week, leave a comment and let me know how you avoid getting “too up in your head.” How do you maintain a healthy balance in your life, juggling your writing endeavors with all of your (other) responsibilities?

On that note . . . I’m done writing for today and off to practice my flute! Have a great week!

Originally published at Write Stuff.

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