Finding the Art in Everything

24 October, 2008

The Invisibility Game

I read this today, shared by a friend. It made me think about how often people blog about blogging, or not blogging as the case may be.

I was also talking to another friend about his blog entry, posted after a long RSS silence. When I commented how we let those blogging gaps happen, he said he just wanted to make sure what he posted meant something--that he didn't post "just for the sake of posting."

It occurred to me that blogging can impose such a burden of self-identification. Not only do we decide what to write, identifying ourselves by what we want to say, but we we decide what we want our blog to be. And for those of us who have a blog with no driving theme, (i.e politics, news, or nutrition) our blog becomes an eclectic, electronic extension of ourselves. What do we post, and why? Why do we often feel guilt about not posting to something we're not even sure anyone is reading? How much of ourselves do we expose? Do we only post polished ideas? Or is random drivel from a journal ok?

It's like I'm playing a funny game: I'm only vulnerable because I'm only "writing for me". But if it were only for me, what is it doing online for everyone to see? It can be there because no one will really read it. I'll never forget being startled by the round of comments on my first blog entry. They read that? But I didn't think anyone was paying attention! This governing fallacy--the one where I'm pretty sure no one is paying attention to me--actually brings a lot of embarrassment.

If the self-identification of blogging is really only for me (because "no one" is actually watching), then why all the fuss about appearance and content? Maybe the way Jadepark does it, where she conceals her identity, is the only way it can be done. This way a writer can satisfy that craving for transparency but have the liberties of anonymity--liberties that include freedom from self-consciousness. Maybe pretending I'm invisible is really the only freedom I find from self-consciousness and the criticism it brings me.

Blogging is good because it forces me to overcome the foe of my inner critic and make readable what was hard enough to write.

I wonder if I'll ever be able to beat the critic and win transparency without first playing the invisibility game. Because if I can't, maybe the beat-the-inner-critic battlefield will always be the blog, keeping real, paid publication as far away as it seems.

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