Laughing and screaming the whole wild ride
Thousands of posts concentrate on getting ideas, finding your voice, and overcoming writer’s block. I smile at those, a little bewildered at how a writer doesn’t have enough ideas, can’t put words down on paper, or has to search for their voice. (Isn’t that an inherent part of your personality? Is your voice something that’s wandered away like a lost child that needs finding? Does “searching for your voice” mean that you have been mute all your life and are now questing for some silver verbal vocal cords that give you the ability to write so people can hear you?)
The real point of blogging is JOY. Sheer, unadulterated pleasure at this difficult, beautiful profession. I GET to write every day! I get to speak to an audience! I get to be ME all the time.
Blogging is liberating after the confines of academic writing
I can just “talk” to you.
Years in academia, formally trained as a writer, I was restricted by rules and expectations. Then I found column writing, which pre-dated blogging. The years went by and my columns became “blogs,” and I am FREE! FREE! FREE AT LAST!
I can have conversations with you instead of hypothesizing, postulating, or theorizing. I get to say what I want to say like I would if I were talking. I get to ask you questions, fill the space with verbal pauses like “Hmmm.” “Really,” and “Ah!” if I like.
I don’t have to be stilted and formal and sound like I’m an expert on my topic. (Because I am not an expert on anything other than being human.)
I can use contractions.
This may not sound like a big deal to you, but it’s a huge one to me. For years, I was taught — and then I instructed others — not to use contractions in formal writing. But as a blogger, I can use any form of the words I want to. (And yes, I’m ending that sentence with a preposition.)
Being able to use contractions feels like taking off a tight bra at the end of a day. Total freedom. Relaxation. My language returning to its natural shape. “I’m” instead of “I am.” “You’ve instead of “You have.” “Can’t” instead of “cannot.”
Oh, baby, let me run with this!
They’ll / We’ve / Don’t / Won’t / Shouldn’t / Hasn’t / Couldn’t / You’re
The words, finally freed, gleefully jump from my fingers and onto the page.
I can use weird words and substandard language
Gotcha. Betcha. You all. Ain’t. Done good.
I may not ever want to use those, but if I wanted to, there is no “rule,” saying I can’t. No grammar police. No scoring penalties. No Mrs. Lewis in Senior English taking off a letter grade for every contraction, substandard phrase, or spelling error.
Phew. No fear now!
I can have paragraphs and sentences of ANY length
Do you remember those paragraphs of a minimum of five sentences? A topic sentence, some exposition sentences, and then a transition sentence to the next paragraph?
In the world of blogging, I can have one-sentence paragraphs. Believe it or not, I can even have a one-word paragraph. (Take that, Mrs. Lewis!) I can follow along with some of the blogging “greats” on Medium who advocate for short paragraphs and lots and lots of white space, or I can do more in-depth writing with longer paragraphs and multiple linking citations.
Short. Long. Medium. Simple. Complex. Compound. One-word and staccato sentences like Hemingway, or a hundred words and ornate like Fitzgerald. Paragraphs that are brief and concise. Paragraphs that ramble and wander like the stream of consciousness of a lunatic.
Phrases and paragraphs my way.
I can add graphic touches whenever I want
Italics for the emphasis and not because I want to indicate a title? You bet. Bold print for focus on a single word? Yes! Yes! Yes! Can I take a quote and make it shout by pulling it out? No doubt about it.
I can type a word in all CAPITALS if I choose to. I can sprinkle my text with dashes, ellipses, and exclamation marks. I can be downright belligerent with the symbols on my keyboard and nobody would arrest me.
I can write about any topic
I write about books and literature, writing and reading, and the experience of being human. But if I wanted to write about frogs or photography or modern warfare, I could. Being a blogger means that I am not strapped into a tight framework. Exploration and free-form experimentation are possibilities every day.
Infinite opportunities for growth exist in the world of blogging.
That kind of freedom deserves a heartfelt HALLELUJAH!
Too much of a good thing is never a good thing.
I won’t be writing pieces with every paragraph being one sentence long. I probably won’t be using a lot of substandard language. I won’t use a contraction EVERY single time I could — because sometimes it just sounds better or gives more emphasis if letters aren’t dropped. Not every piece will be embellished with graphics, filled with parenthetical conversational remarks, or focused on experimental topics.
But I will always be talking to you, using the same words I’d use if we were chatting. And I’ll be me. Just who I am. My voice. My words. My writing.
You’ll know me because I will ALWAYS be laughing and screaming with delight at the freedom I have as a blogger.