Oh…how best to say…
I’m not real interested in writing to my audience. I’ve made no secret of the fact that what I post here is really for my edification and, if other people find it interesting, insightful, entertaining, useful or some combination therein, then that’s just gravy.
Previous incarnations of me writing online have had a fair amount of focus on staying relatively anonymous, after making a bunch of the kind of rookie mistakes that accompany a new foray into internet presence always does. But I’ve more or less abandoned that kind of conversational crossover in favor of not fucking worrying about it much.
The Deal goes roughly like this: IF I’m going to bitch and moan about real-life interactions I can say what, but not who, and even then only in general terms. Otherwise real life is mostly verboten, sans old stories about largely anonymous people or stories about fundamentally positive interactions. And even then, be sparing about names.
That pretty much keeps things clean to the limit of my tolerance for considering it.
Lately though I’ve been noticing something funny and I think the change is in the noticing, not the phenomenon itself.
I’ll sit here for my 4-7 hours or so, pen off a couple posts and really get in to my own head and feelings about it all. In a very real way this scene…
…becomes an extension of the inside of my mind. I tend to near intentionally forget that other people are going to be reading whatever goes up.
So I’m not writing any well structured essays. This is all really just stream of consciousness writing for the most part; blogging in the old style, as it were. It’s largely pretty sappy and deeply personal. But whatever, that’s the context I’m in when I’m staring at these amber words on the page.
“Problem” is the day after I’m here I reread what I’ve put down (I…read my own writing rather a lot, and with a level of repetition that I suspect people might find truly alarming) I frequently wince a bit. Usually that’s accompanied by a moment of “can’t believe I went all the way there.” But I very VERY rarely amend a post based on that kind of realization. I deleted a pair of posts a couple weeks ago. But aside from that I really don’t post-edit all that much.
Back in the day when I started blogging on Radio Userland (blog 0108194, I recall for some reason) I was absolutely shocked by what people did and didn’t respond to. It was always the most strange little inner thoughts and day to day ramblings that elicited the most enthusiastic response. Well, that was long before social media was an itch in Tom’s…err…mind. Let’s go with mind.
Generally speaking that just doesn’t happen anymore and it’s tough not to think I’m just shouting details a bit too personal into the void, giving random strangers a window into most of the workings of my mind….to what end? Well, who knows. You’d be more of a fool than I not to understand it’s still a persona, if not one so neatly and consciously contrived as that might imply. Oh it’s honest, don’t get me wrong. But it’s a selective facet of the guts of my mind.
My reasons for writing here have changed a lot over the years. At this point yeah, there’s some narcissism invovled in the idea that people will come and read these things and get excited about them, one way or another. There’s some thought to the fact that I’m trying to hone my wordcraft, even in this slapdash of a format. But mostly it’s just a personal journal of what’s on my mind, sprinkled with stories both fantastic and benign that I use to entertain myself and maybe others.
All in all it keeps me as close to honest as I’m likely to get, assuming I don’t make the decision to pull out some of the stops I’ve got in place that prevent me from running this all as an even deeper dive in to my psyche, which would certainly have its utility. Yeah, it’d be tougher to manage socially, especially since I’ve now got people in real life who say “Hey I read that thing you posted last week.”
Hell, maybe it’d be worth it. Problem is, I keep it on this side of the line here. But I also post about 2/3 of the words I put down on this forum. So those lines continue to behave, in practice, as limits on my ability to self examine, and that’s not acceptable.
Hmm… Enumerated thus it presents a problem I hadn’t really realized was there.
I suppose my options are:
- Continue as I’m going: Solves nothing, but it’s certainly the easiest option.
- Pull out some more stops and let this get a bit deeper: Frightening, to be sure. And maybe that speaks to the value. Playing it safe is certainly responsible, at least in part, for some of the stasis this all seems to have.
- Back off here and start working more on fiction while doing more writing offline: Eh. There’s something to that. But I’m going to do that in reverse, regardless of what else I come up with.
- Post to drafts then spend more energy editing and building up more coherent essay-like pieces instead of just ripping out stream-of-consciousness posts: I mean yeah, that’s a possibility but where’s the fun? I enjoy few things as much as doing this the way I do it. Not sure I’m willing to take the risk. But then what risk really? Not like there’s anything irreversable about it.
- Be more intentional about topic planning and outlining: This is something like the above, but not quite the same thing. I really enjoy the straight up stream of consciousness writing. But taking the “ooh, I should write about that” impulse and even bulleting it out a bit before hand might be a nice happy medium.
And hell, maybe it’s a problem that doesn’t need a solution. I don’t know. It requires a fair bit more thought. On one side I’m playing it a bit too safe, on the other it seems I’m doing the opposite.
It’s the kind of thing that, having blasted out 1100 words about it, I’ll come up with some thoughts about it over the next few days.