what blogging teaches you about yourself

I’m not a good blogger. For ages, I’ve been trying to work out why. I’m quite chatty – well, very chatty, too chatty many would say. I’m a writer, so the keyboard is a natural form of communication. I’m not a recluse. Some failed or failing bloggers seem to find solace in believing they’re ‘above’ blogging, that their words are reserved for ‘real’ writing. Blogging is real writing. It’s just a different form of real writing. That’s one reason, at least, that I’m no good at it. I can’t quite catch the blog form. I wish I could, since a good blog is a daily treat. Ah – there’s another reason. I have no urge to blog daily, but the secret of a good blog is the daily post. The blogger becomes familiar. Small details matter. You want to know how things are going. The same adage applies to a blog as to a friend: the less you speak, the less you have to say. If you only blog occasionally, nobody’s really interested. If you blog daily, you offer a real glimpse of your life, and other people’s lives are endlessly fascinating, their relative ordinariness reassuring.

Tania Kindersley is a superb blogger, and the other day, she touched on something else that separates the good from the poor blogger. Good bloggers are compelled to turn experiences into words. Even as you’re experiencing whatever it is, you’re turning it into a blog. You can’t help it. Before you’ve blogged, the experience isn’t quite fixed. Only when it’s up and posted can you relax. Recognising this, Tania was lamenting that she never quite ‘lives in the moment’. But the blogger’s curse of never quite living in the moment is the reader’s blessing. We benefit from the blogger’s compulsion to turn everything into a blog. The definition of a good blogger is, indeed, the compulsive blogger who can’t help but blog, and who, through sheer force of character, compels the reader to read.

From my periodic attempts to blog I’ve learned that I’m not built for it any more than I’m built for eating prunes, tending a garden or office politics. I shall just accept that occasional bloggers like me are not good bloggers. When I read Tania’s blog, I shall stop feebly worrying ‘why can’t I do that?’, I’m simply going to say ‘horses for courses’ and enjoy it.