Recently I've been a part of discussions about and have read posts on why people have blogs. Obviously, there are lots of bloggers who are trying to make money from their writing, either from links or merchandise. There are those who love to be in the various blog contests and want you to vote for them once a day from every computer in your house. Really, those kinds of blogs are okay to me. I visit some of them regularly because they have lots of resources I can use and I really do appreciate the time and effort some of these women put into their blogs. The blogs I really enjoy reading, though, are the ones where you feel like you're sitting down for a chat with the writer and hearing firsthand about what happened in their day.
When I started to blog almost four years ago, it was because Jay was going to be in Kuwait for several months and we wanted a way for him to see what we were doing each day. Since then, it's become a substitute scrapbook, a school portfolio, and a place to put random thoughts. I think it's fun that other people read it, but really, it's for me now. If all seven readers told me tomorrow that they no longer cared what I had to say, I'd still write.
In the last month or so, a couple of different writing opportunities have come my way (more on that as things actually start posting) and I've found it's really a lot harder to write for an "assignment" than it is to write for myself. When I write here, I don't edit a great deal (hence the rampant use of "a lot") and I don't worry too much about things being exactly right. When I write for someone else, though, I hear my 12th grade English teacher whispering in my ear. In case you think you know what I'm talking about, let me tell you, you don't--well, maybe a couple of people who will read this do. This teacher was infamous. She chose her students for her AP class and she worked us hard. To her credit, we became good writers, and some of us even became "real" writers.
I was a pretty good writer in high school thanks to her. The stuff (again, my lack of editing shows poor word choice) I quickly dashed out for college courses would have gotten me a B or C for my senior year class, but it earned me an A every time there. She committed a major faux pas (should that be in italics?) in my eyes, though. At the end of our senior year she found out Jay and I were dating and she told me to, and I quote, "be careful." That deserves italics, people. Be. careful. What??? Watch out or you might have a great life? Beware of those cute kids! Danger! Nice house alert!! Um, yeah. Perhaps I could spin that to mean that she was worried that if I ended up with Jay, I wouldn't have enough angst to make me the fabulous writer she knew I could be. Ahem. So, yeah, I think she was just plain nuts, which makes me question her when she's muttering in my year. If she was wrong about Jay, is she wrong about that idiom, too?
When I'm writing for others, I notice my to be verbs and I worry about comma placement instead of focusing on my voice. I'm worried that my piece will be a 6 or a 7 instead of a 9. Voice is what makes it a 9. I think that when I blog here, you hear my voice, but I don't know about in other places yet. Honestly, the post I just submitted took me almost a week to write and it was just a few paragraphs. It didn't sound like me to me, but it was grammatically correct and I was tired of messing with it, so I turned it in. Hopefully it will get easier with time!