Blogging on Blogging: The Navel Gaze

I’ve been thinking about this post for about a week now. Actually, I’ve been thinking about this topic, the whyfore write a blog topic, for awhile. I had no idea there would be panels about it! I guess this is what is called a meta-post. Who knew?

My disclaimer: I am no academic. These thoughts are my thoughts about blogging, and I haven’t done a lot of research on other sites to see what others think about blogging or the community of bloggers. I’ve seen a few things out there that have made me think about it, but not much more than the questions from Her Bad Mother, courtesy of Joy.

The first time I encountered the blog phenomenon was when I began reading Misfit Hausfrau. MH is a friend of mine from a few years back. She moved away a few years back, but we still visit and email and, occasionally, vacation together with a cadre of other friends. I found her on-line musings hilarious, and I found myself thinking, “Hey, I could do that.”

But I didn’t. I did continue to read the Hausfrau site; I also began visiting other parenting blogs. I seldom commented; and although I often thought, “Hey I could do that” I continued to not do it. Part of my attitude was, “I get paid to write”, which at the time, was true.

Although on occasion I still get paid to write, I found myself with more and more stories I wanted to tell to people. About Bun and the CCAM. About Monkey and how she was doing.

And then I had Bun, and suddenly I felt like I had time. The desire was there, the time was there. My sister-in-law, Earth Mother, was starting to write online. The “hey I could do that” attitude became, “what the hell. I’m going to do it.”

As you can see, this little blog is very much a work in progress. I don’t like the name (I’m thinking of switching to My 2 Girls). I can’t figure out how to post photos. I’m one of hundreds of parent bloggers out there. Frankly, I think a lot of them are funnier than I am, and I’m not sure I’m saying anything new. I do think I’m as good a writer as most of them. Maybe not as entertaining, but I’m trying to be. I hope to be.

So, here are some of the questions posed this week, and my answers to them.

Who are we? What kind of parent-blogger are you?
I don’t know about “we”, but I am a white female, 36 years old, married with children (obviously). I live in a suburb of Pittsburgh. I am a college graduate with dreams of earning an MFA in writing someday; I am a writer, and sometimes I work full-time, but for most of my marriage and life as a mom, I’ve freelanced. I also edit and do graphic design when I can find that kind of work. I feel I should say I am somewhat “priviledged” because, really, although we don’t make a lot of money, we do own our house and have two computers, on one of which I blog. So there’s that.

I am an unsure blogger. I am an inexperienced blogger. I think occasionally, I am a funny blogger.

To whom are we writing? Who is our audience?
I would like my audience to be my family and friends. But I haven’t told many people about this weblog because I want the freedom to write my TMI posts, about my hemorrhoids or about my (lack of) sex life. And I’m not sure I could do that, be that honest or “real” if I knew my mom was going to read this.

I would like my audience to be other parent-bloggers. Her Bad Mother, Misfit Hausfrau, Cynical Dad, Dooce — and others. I would like to be part of the community. I would like to know that what I have to say is read. Right now, I know I am pretty much writing in a void. And for now, that is okay.

Why are we writing? What is our purpose?
I am writing because, to quote Stephen King, “Writers write.” My purpose is to write, just get the words on… well, I was stupidly going to say “on paper”, but that doesn’t apply here. To get the words out, let’s say that.

I have been pretty faithful to this weblog. More faithful that I’ve been to my journal in quite some time. That may change when I go back to work (if I go back to work). It may change for any number of reasons: if I continue to feel like I’m writing in a void; if I am discouraged; if my husband/mother/friends say(s), “what are you doing that for?”; if I realize I don’t have anything to say.

But for now: I am writing to write. To practice my craft. To maybe get better at it.

What is the context for our writing? What are we saying? What is our message?
For the most part, I think we are telling our stories, all of which are relevant stories to us. We are saying, “You are not alone.” I’m not sure “we” have a message aside from that. I don’t have an agenda for this site. I just want to tell some people my stories. That’s all.

How does the medium of blogging affect all this?
I don’t have an answer for this one at this time.

What kind of citizen are you in the parent blog-o-sphere?
I read a number of blogs regularly, and I am discovering new writers all the time. I comment if I feel I have something relevant to add to the discussion. If a site gets hundreds of comments, I seldom leave one. I just don’t comment to comment. That might make me a bad citizen.

I link a lot. Because I am not really writing in a void, and what other writers have said sometimes affects what I have to say.

I don’t have the chutzpah to give awards.

I think “off-blog” and inter-blog activity is important. And I want to know how I get invited to these fabulous parties, panels and activities. But that is more work than this little blog deserves right now. Oh, and also, how to make money from this. Like Dooce, whose post about her husband and his refusal to start books the way Leta wants to start them made me cry with laughter. (I couldn’t leave a comment for some reason).

Okay, that’s all I have to say on this topic for now. I have to 1. do some laundry (which I notice is how I end quite a few of my posts, by going to do laundry. I wish this were code for “go have hot sex with DearDR”. But it’s really not) and 2. check on my not-napping Monkey.

One thought on “Blogging on Blogging: The Navel Gaze

  1. Well, I consider you part of *my* community. I don’t think that one absolutely needs to be ‘out there’ – making lots of comments, giving lots of awards – community can be quieter!

    Thanks for writing this – it gave me lots more to think about.

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