Writing for Real

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I know that every blogger, wait, every writer, has the same problem. Do you write what you really want to? Or do you edit yourself from what seems most popular?

In blogging, where the number of followers and comments you have often speak to your blogging "status" it is easy to feel the pressure to write what is popular, even though none of us are being paid for this. We don't really have anything to lose, except followers.

(Which, by the way, this isn't saying that I don't appreciate those of you who do read. It means a lot to me, and gives nearly every day a pick-me-up.)

But thinking about the blogs that are popular, although they vary dramatically in content, have striking similarities. The people who write them are either funny or sarcastic (which can also be funny.)

I'm not really that funny.

I try. But usually my funny lands on its face while people stare.

And I don't want to be sarcastic.

Although this is becoming more and more prominent a trait. Part of it I blame on Hubster, who is the most sarcastic person I know. It has worn off a little.

But the other source of sarcasm has been my training.

In medicine, idealism, optimism, and daydreams are quickly checked at the door for better survival skills. Namely, cynicism and sarcasm.

We see a lot of bad things. Things don't often turn out the way I would like them. Children don't always go home with their parents and families don't always get time to say goodbye. Inequalities and poor decision making become glaringly obvious. Bottom-lines replace ideals.

Five years ago, I would have described myself as idealistic, optimitic, and hopeful. Now, I am just clutching at those in an attempt to not let more warped characteristics completely swallow me.

Another thing that most bloggers seem to avoid is politics. I'm pretty sure that we all have strong opinions about one aspect or another. I've avoided politics on my blog, despite down right passionate feelings. And I think I do this from example.

If you avoid politics on your blog, why?

I started this blog to hopefully reconnect with traits that seemed to be slipping through my fingers as I progressed through my training. I'm not sure I always do a good job. But I'm going to here and now make a re-commitment to write what I came here to write.


Jessie said...

I write to journal, and to share stories with my family and friends. I write what I want, and I try not to totally sugar coat everything. I don't write what might lead people to think things are worse than they actually are (staying away from extreme moments where my hubby or kids are driving me crazy, for example), which sometimes frustrates me, because I initially started out my blog as an outlet for my feelings, but over time I've realized that I'm glad I don't put all those things out in the open--I forget about them much more easily if I don't make them permanent. I have been known to write a politically charged article or two here and there, but for the most part, I really stick to things I want to remember about my kids and family (journaling), and random stuff that I feel like saying. I don't try to be funny. I'm not. I don't try to be sarcastic. I am, more than I'd like to be, too, and I'm trying to get over some of that. I just write the only way I know how--like me.

Bonnie said...

I like to read what you write, not because its popular; believe it or not, not because I know and admire you. It's because it's refreshing, down to earth and honest, and yes, you're funny without sarcasm.

Some things politically are too important not to say anything about, other things will change in four years and what is an issue now wont change what's right, so its silly to get in an argument over it. When I think about politics I'm reminded how many people are ready to set the record straight and have very strong opinions on the score of the last game, whether or not to have day light savings time or when is Christmas really? Things that are safe, that most people wont lose a relationship over.
We fear talking about euthenasia and "conspiracy" theories, abortion or prophecy because those are things that can change who we are to others. We deliberately or instinctively cherish family, friends and our reputations, so it makes sense to debate over plastic or wall paper or the parade rather than the decline of peace in the Middle East.
I'm glad you write.

Karen said...

It's kind of funny because I have a BA in Political Science and I've been deeply interested in the entire American political process since the 7th grade. But I generally avoid discussing most political topics on my blog.

I admit that it's has a lot to do with the fact that I have some readers who would very strongly disagree with my point of view.

But it's also because politics is so deeply entrenched in the real life conversations I have with coworkers and family members and my boyfriend that I just don't have it in me to write about it, too. I'd rather write about fun and (usually) non-controversial stuff like movies and my adorable nephew.

But I LOVE reading a good, well-written political post, even when I don't agree with the author.