I feel guilty. He thought I was doing research on how to be a grant writer, as part of my many attempts to find gainful employment using my astonishing, death-defying skills as a writer. Something that is not impossible, but not as easy to do as you thought it would be when you decided to be an English major, either.
Instead, I am working on my blog(s). Again.
To be precise, I am not actually blogging. I am working on the HTML coding for my website, tweaking the design and making/adding graphics so that it will be pretty. This type of technical work takes time, especially when you’ve only got a rudimentary knowledge of coding that you learned from a (no joke) children’s book on HTML that you checked out of the library once about ten years ago.For those of you who have a blog or a website, you know how much time it can consume – so perhaps it is needless to say that re-coding my blog(s) has become a bit of a fixation for me over the past four or five days. Meanwhile, my husband has been watching a lot of football without me (much to my great disappointment, I’m sure you can imagine).
I’ve also been blogging up a storm – I’ve written new entries on A Little Bit of Wonder almost every day, plus I’ve opened up a new “section” of The Wonder Blog (although technically, it’s a different blog) to put up reviews of my favorite books, other blogs and the written word in general. I’m supposed to be job hunting (see previous posts on that subject), but instead I am expressing myself.
“I think it’s funny,” says my husband, in a tone of voice that tells me that he is only slightly amused and also somewhat irritated, “That you quit your part-time job so that you could get a full-time job, but then you spend all your time blogging instead of looking for work.” Refusing to acknowledge my guilt, I tick off the number of jobs that I have applied to in the past week, and then remind him of the fact that I have a very promising interview coming up on Tuesday. Then I deliver the ultimate justification: I am learning how to use Twitter and Blog-networking in order to be more attractive to potential employers. He snickers, but the thing is – I’m not joking. I’ve already filled out applications for several Public Relations jobs that state in the list of applicant requirements that the candidate must have experience with social media – one even explicitly named Facebook and Twitter.
He returns to his football, and I return to my blog.
You see, I’m not newly obsessed with my blog I want to avoid job hunting, exactly – although I do want to avoid job hunting. I think my newly all-consuming desire to write write write has sprung in part from the fact that I have had mono for the past month, and so I have laid in bed watching television and barely communicating with the outside world for most of that time. I managed to re-watch almost four seasons of The X-Files before deciding that I just didn’t care any more (not care about The X-Files?? There is something wrong with me!) and now that I am finally starting to emerge from the exhausted haze that has hung over me for about four weeks, I need to communicate. My husband likes to say that I “have a lot of words” – they come rushing at him when he gets home from work each day. (We’ve actually had to agree that I won’t talk to him much for the first half an hour when he gets home because he finds it so overwhelming.) I think what has happened now is that all those words – four weeks worth of words – have been sitting and percolating in my subconscious, and now they are demanding release.
This frenzied expulsion of paragraph after paragraph isn’t a bad thing, though, because I’ve figured out something else: although I write a lot of different types of things, my blog is the one example of a “story” that I feel like I’ve been able to tell in my own voice. I keep trying to be an Author-with-a-Capital-A, but while I can dream up an extensive list of characters and details for a novel, I always grow dissatisfied with my work once I actually begin writing. After blogging for several days in a row and comparing my satisfaction with this experience to my last attempt to write a novel, I’ve realized that I’m trying to hard to write like Virginia Woolf, C.S. Lewis or J.K. Rowling.
As a composition professor, I give speeches to my students about “finding their own voice” – and yet I’ve only been taking my own advice with some of my writing projects, not all.
So this explosion of words and blog entries has done me a lot of good because I’ve decided to stop worrying about being an Author-with-a-Capital-A and simply tell my story in my own voice. Although I started this blog as “just” an outlet and an experiment, I am now imagining that it could be the basis of my seminal work in the future. I’ll turn my blog into a book – a lot of people have already done it. So even though I’m unsure about the direction that my life is taking in terms of my gainful employment, I’ve felt a lot better about my career as an Author – something that’s pretty important to my concept of identity. Cheers for me.