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A question of blogging

March 8, 2009

“You’ve got a blog now, Mom? Great.  When did you post your last entry,” asked my 23-year-old son David.

“Oh, about a week ago.”

“That’s not a blog.  That’s a newsletter.”

“But that’s the last time I had anything I thought was worth posting.  Or the time to do it.”

“Then you’re not blogging, Mom.  You’ve got to keep posting or no one will be interested.  The New York Mets post at least three times a day.”

Oh, dear.  I know he’s right.  Even though I’m not the Mets, I was told before I started this blog that you’ve to add new posts continually, or it goes stale.   On the other hand, what has burned into my consciousness was advice from my long-time teacher, mentor, and guru about most things in life, Sarah Lawrence College professor Suzanne Hoover.  Here’s what she said:

“Don’t waste people’s time.  Only post when you have something to say.”

Maybe it’s a generational thing, because I’m inclined to agree with her.  There’s something about blogging – and oh, God, now there’s Twittering – which just doesn’t sit right with people like me and Suzanne, writers who agonize over every word to make sure it’s perfect before making our work public.  That’s what writing teachers and editors are all about, isn’t it?  Protecting the quality of the written word that we place before the reader. 

Besides which – do I really need to know who’s just gone for a run on the beach, has a cold today, or is spending the day baking oatmeal cookies?  I’ve got Facebook for that – should I ever have lots and lots of extra time on my hands to keep up with such news.  Which needless to say, I rarely do.  Almost every time I find that I’ve just spent any amount of time on Facebook, I rue the lost minutes when I could have gotten something constructive done.

And here’s another worry. There’s something that seems just so – oh dear, I’m going to get into trouble for this – both exhibitionistic and narcissistic, about assuming people are interested in my every passing thought or sniffle. (You didn’t need to be told last week that I was staying home because of the snowstorm.  It was snowing on you, too.)

Funny that a first person essay writer, who has just published a book Happily Ever After Divorce: Notes of a Joyful Journey (now available in bookstores!) in which I recount my very personal stories of rebuilding my life after divorce, should use those damning words. After all, I’m always reassuring my writing students that sharing your life in a way that might be meaningful to others is one of the most giving acts a person can perform.

My model for a great blog  is Jane Pollak’s blog. Jane, a highly talented life coach and speaker (her tag line is “Leading Remarkable Women to Uncommon Success”) never fails to have something informative and useful to say, at least three times a week.  There’s always content, always a take-away.  Yet Jane is closer to my generation than my son David’s. So I guess it’s not about age.

Maybe, like Suzanne, I’ll never really get this unfiltered, unedited, first-draft-only way of Twittering-blogging-Facebooking as a way of communicating with the world.  

I will try, really.  But when it comes to my “Happily Ever After” blog, just know this:

I promise not to waste your time.

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. March 9, 2009 3:54 am

    I agree. Unless they’re unnaturally obsessed with the NY Mets, adults over thirty probably don’t need to hear from them more than once a week either.

  2. March 9, 2009 8:16 pm

    Because of Jane Pollak’s blog i was inspired to click over here.

    If your book tour can take you over here to the Left Coast, consider proposing that you speak at my fav. book store, Book Passage – with great stores in Corte Madera (in my county of Marin) and at the Ferry Bldg in S.F. As an author I know how exciting this time is for you… and

    I will order your book, then write about it

    Congrats!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. jbram permalink*
    March 14, 2009 7:28 am

    Just say the word, Kare, and I’ll be on a plane. I’d love to speak at any book store you recommend. And any fan of Jane Pollak’s is a friend of mine!

  4. March 29, 2009 8:27 pm

    I go through the same thoughts with my blog — I know that I need to keep producing, so folks will have a reason to come, but I certainly don’t want to fill it up with repetitive blather.

    More than that, it’s HARD for a writer/English major/slightly obsessive perfectionist to just throw it down on the page (or the screen) and not rewrite 5 times. And yet, that’s what blogging is! Something of the moment, that folks aren’t likely to read if it’s not fresh nearly daily.

    A new kind of communication for us careful communicators.

    And I am NOT rereading this to check for typos (so forgive me if there are any).

  5. August 19, 2009 12:54 am

    Super-Duper site! I am loving it!! Will come back again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.

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