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  • Leah E. Welker

But What Kind of Blog?

Path that winds to the left through an evergreen forest shrouded in fog.

I spent my last post talking about why I didn't want a blog, but I didn't actually address what kind of blog I wanted, or why I finally decided to start one, other than the fact that I decided to become a full-time writer.

Well . . . a blog is part of that. And it's not just because that's good advice for building an author "platform." I need to choose my planks in that platform with care, planks that I can actually work with, that make sense to me, that fit my personality and interests. That's the only way those planks will actually withstand the test of time. One of those planks is the website. Another is a newsletter. Another is this blog. I have ideas for more, and I'll no doubt discover others along the way, but those first three will be my foundation.

Now, I know I said I never wanted a blog, but that doesn't mean I've never thought about getting one anyway. I have a lot of things going on in this head of mine, and not all of it fits neatly into a story. Sometimes I've wondered if I should share those musings of mine. Maybe I'm just subscribing to a universal arrogance that surely someone will benefit from my mad ramblings, or maybe . . . that's actually the case. I won't know unless I try, will I?

At the very least, even if I just end up typing into a vacuum (which actually sounds pretty nice right about now) having a blog will (hopefully) give me the discipline to finally sit down and put my thoughts down in some cohesive form.

Why not a journal, then? I hear you ask.

Great question, hypothetical friend!

I actually love journaling. I've journaled with mild regularity ever since I was given my first paper journal by my primary teacher around . . . when I was eight, I think. (That journal is in storage right now, or I'd check.) Journaling has been immensely helpful not just for my mental health and personal records but also my writing skills. You want to be good at something? Practice every day. Well, during some long periods of my life I was practicing writing every day, even if it wasn't fiction writing.

There was an added benefit to my journaling habit that I knew would be a factor all along but didn't know just how big a factor until I got to my twenties: I have a terrible memory of my life. Oh, I'll remember stuff if I flip open my journal to a random page and start reading, but until that point, I would never have been able to dredge up that day from the dark archives of my mind again. My frequent reaction when a family member will reminisce is . . .

Gandalf "I have no memory of this place" meme.
Or this person, or this event, or this item, or . . . .

You would think, since I'm the member of the family that journals the most that I would have the best memory, wouldn't you? But that's not how my brain works, nope. It's as if journaling is my process of backing up my memories to some secure drive and then immediately deleting the original copies as so much clutter.

Or maybe I just live so much of my life in my head, passing through my existence in a philosophical fog, that the temporal plane leaves no more lasting an impression on my mind than what can be captured in my nightly journaling and then blows away in my sleep.

Anyway . . . point being, if I hadn't journaled, I might have lost huge swaths of my life entirely. I've still forgotten those swaths, but there's a record stored somewhere that my mind can use to retrieve the rest of the information.

Journals are great, guys . . . but they're also just for me. And, well, for whoever gets them after I'm gone, I guess. But if I'm going to start taking this full-time writing gig seriously, I need to write for more than just me. I need to write books. And I also need to communicate with the world not just about those books but also about . . . well, me. And the best way I know how to communicate is through . . . writing. (Ya never saw that one coming, did ya?) And the longer the form, the better. (Ditto.)

So yes, thank you, I know I rambled on for twelve paragraphs about the obvious, but that was just a case in point of what this blog is and isn't going to be (I think).

This blog isn't going to be . . .
  1. Perfect. Probably stating the obvious, but let's get it out there, just in case, in this contract between us, mostly so that I don't hold myself to that standard.

  2. Short. See all the above.

  3. Polished. Yes, not only is not going to be perfect, it's also not going to be pristine. It will be messy. (Well . . . as messy as I can let myself do anything.) There may occasionally be some wonky formatting. There may be typos. There may be (gasp) inconsistencies! I refuse to create a style sheet for this blog. I refuse to consult the Chicago Manual of Style for every little style question. I refuse to fact check absolutely everything.

Why? Because my goal is one blog post a week, and that's the only way to make it feasible. Why is that my goal? Because of what I want the blog to be.

I want this blog to . . .
  1. Chronicle my journey through this wild publishing process, partly so that I don't forget it. And why couldn't I do that in a journal? Because if one single person out there is counting on reading these ramblings, that will hold me accountable. (And now ask me how much I wrote in my journal last year. And I'll tell you . . . not much.)

  2. Show who I am. I'm not just a byline on a cover. I'm not just characters in a book. I'm a person, with feelings and thoughts, and if I'm going to have to show myself to the world, then I'm going to be the one telling my story.

  3. Sharing thoughts on my books (writing about my writing—how meta of me).

And so yes, this blog is going to wander. It's going to be messy. I'm not entirely sure it's even going to be useful to anyone but me. It's certainly not going to be "Top 5 Reasons You Should Start Writing a Blog," like the blog AI tried to tell me my title should be. It's not going to be a picture-perfect walk down a quaint, well-maintained main street in some quaint, well-maintained tourist trap with lots of little ads and clickbait. (I do not want to monetize this in any way.)

It's going to be a winding path through the forest, sometimes muddy, sometimes obscure, sometimes going over steep mountains and sometimes descending into deep and foggy valleys, sometimes with you (and me both) having no idea where the heck it's going.

It's going to be an adventure.

Bilbo "I'm going on an adventure" meme.


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