Why write?

20160910_141320A reader recently responded to a previous post, noting that my writing has lapsed. I’m glad someone noticed. I get a great deal of traffic to my blog, but pretty much no interaction, which is a strange thing; the stats show lots of people are reading it, but with few comments or other interaction, I sometimes think I might as well be howling at the moon.

In some ways that’s been a godsend as I don’t have a lot of time for online discussions and don’t have to deal with trolls, but the silence can be challenging at times. Living a nontraditional independent life can be lonely, and even this slim thread of words can help.

In the end I’m not sure what I want or need. I guess I blog because I’m a writer and this format allows me to express myself removed from the constraints of paid media forms. Of course I could keep a journal and often have in the past, but that’s for deeper, more private stuff. I try to express ideas and perceptions here, because Ironically, I’m really a very private person and loathe being in the spotlight, preferring to live my life doing what I feel needs to be done without seeking approval, attention or accolades from the world. Just recently my partner and I were hosted on CBC and CFAX radio, as well as CTV regarding our new vintage trailer rental business. I didn’t like it much.

While it might be good for the business, the cold eye of exposure on myself personally is not want I want at all. I’ve followed a pretty solitary personal path this far and have no need for the masses to suddenly start noticing me, as an author or otherwise. I feel I have very little to gain and potentially a hell of a lot to lose.

I said it was ironic.

An example is the Kickstarter campaign my partner and I began, hoping to raise a few dollars towards refurbishing our trailers: It’s heading towards a flop. I have no doubt that from what I’ve learned through this process that I could repeat it and probably succeed, yet I don’t think I’d want to because it’s essentially a popularity contest, one in which whoever makes the most noise and garners the most attention, wins. The value or merits of the idea are very much secondary.

But that’s not how I do life. Even with huge local media coverage, despite spending I don’t know how many hours flogging our project, developing social media and befriending people all over the world, it still wasn’t enough. I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard for so little return.

I don’t resent the reality that this is what it takes, but In the end, there are other, easier ways to make a couple thousand dollars, and that doesn’t require me to scream to the world to notice me. Yet here I am at the blog again. I’ve missed it but there’s been so much work pressure I just haven’t had the interest, time, or heart to face putting something else into the world. When a writer turns from being a writer to being a wage slave for a year, because you can’t live off the proceeds of art, you can bet the writing is gonna suffer.

In the end, it comes down to why write? I don’t have an answer to that. I know that I hurt when I don’t write. I know that if I physically write but don’t put it out there, is not much better. I need to express, which in this case means having readers. Having readers means being seen. Perhaps the portal of the keyboard allows me the privilege of reaching my readers while feeling removed and private. Mass media does not afford that kind of separation.

So in the end, what does the way forward look like? I’ve run this blog for What? 9 years?  Something like that. Perhaps if I stopped blogging it would force me to start writing in a format that pays something (I’m so close to finishing my next book). Perhaps it would feel a relief: I know it did earlier in the year when I stopped posting. Perhaps I need this to feel connected to something bigger than myself, I just don’t know. I do know that I want it to be more of a conscious decision rather than a reaction to being too busy. I’m sure an answer will emerge now that the busyness is past, and time is starting to be my own again.

 

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