Last March 2 was my blog’s first anniversary and I had wanted to mark it with some sort of a special entry. Alas, I was too busy to even so much as sit down and ponder about a working title. I got home Saturday past midnight already, and had to leave barely three hours later for a field trip to the north.
Blogging’s actually one of my few New Year’s resolutions I’ve ever kept. And even now I’m still finding it hard to keep; every blogger knows that writing can be an immensely difficult process. But it sure is fun, and after a year in WordPress, thirty-seven posts, and a handful of followers, I’ve disproved seven myths about blogging that I myself used to believe before I started:
1. Bloggers are self-absorbed and vain
It may seem like we’re writing about ourselves all the time, but that’s only because our lives are the most accessible material we could base our writing on. How could we write about something we didn’t know or haven’t experienced yet? Bloggers actually face the daunting task of drawing public insight from personal experiences—our readers are really our top consideration when we write.
2. Your blog needs a niche
That’s what just about every how-to article about blogging will tell you. That’s not true. Sure, you can limit your blog to a certain central theme, like travelling, or photography, or the cute student council candidate from a rival party you just can’t help fawning over, but it doesn’t mean you should. If you’re just starting out you’d probably want to write about as many things as possible, and confining yourself to a niche will not help you. A chopsuey sort of blog will actually show more breadth and depth to a blogger, and allows for more freedom in content and form.
3. Blogging allows for sloppy language.
It’s a sad truth about our times that when people think “online”, they think about an alternate world where they can just ignore rules of grammar altogether and even disregard propriety in language to the point of offending others’ socio-cultural sensibilities. Bad grammar and irresponsible and insensitive writing will get you nowhere. If you’re bilingual like me, never code-switch. Write in the language you are most comfortable in.
4. Blogging is for the lazy.
Most non-blogging people think that we bloggers have all the time in the world, being able to update posts regularly and everything. But that’s hardly true! Blogging is actually hard work, because we do it on top of school, our jobs, and many other social obligations. And writing, as I’ve mentioned above, can be hard. Ideas don’t just materialize before us every time sit at our computers. Every blogger takes pain to make his blog entry as unique and as refreshing as possible, to avoid the “Today I went out and did this and that” formula. Some even create collages or take photographs for specific entries.
5. Blogging and microblogging are the same.
My creative writing professor recently told our class that the blog, where most serious young writers would usually first foray into writing, is dead, and that microblogging—Facebook statuses, tweets, etc.—have taken its place. I couldn’t disagree more! Blogging, I believe, is of a higher stratum of online activity. Sure, everyone can tell punch lines in tweets, or rant in Facebook statutes, but that’s being lazy and taking the easy way out! Blogging commands a certain dedication to form, a genuine concern for the reader to provide context.
6. Blogging is solitary.
That’s what every blogger thinks when we first start out—that we’re in this alone, and that no one’s ever going to read what we write. You’ll be surprised that people actually do read blog posts, and sometimes they can be totally random strangers from across the globe. It shouldn’t be hard to find someone in your social circle who’s into blogging as well, unless, well, you’re a sociopath and you’re plotting to destroy civilization. However, you don’t just sit around and wait for people to like your posts. Go around and read theirs too, it’s a give-and-take process. And just between you and me, true friends can usually be counted upon to read your blog.
7. The blog is the blogger.
Blogging is as much selfless as it is self-serving—while we use our blogs for self-expression, in the process we also open up a bit of ourselves, our biases and aspirations, for the whole world to see and judge. But still, there’s only ever as much of ourselves in our writing as we permit it. There are different facets to our personality, just as there are a multitude of topics we write about when we blog. Sometimes it’s the movie buff in me, and not necessarily the Asian, talking when I bash or praise the latest Jackie Chan comedy; most probably it would be the commuter in me as well seething in anger when I complain in all caps about how the train broke down on my way to school. It’s very tempting to judge a person from what he writes, but don’t. Writers can hide behind words!