I’ve been “blogging” for twelve years this year. The breadcrumbs are small. In fact, you’re not likely to find them under the last name of Farough. But they existed at one point. I was never one for analog journalling — it bothered me that I had to do it every day to be effective at it. Most of the time, I felt like a failure for not keeping up with it, especially when I was practicing music and theatre (sometimes together) for a serious stretch of time every day.
Through the years I’ve been online, I’ve watched bloggers come and go. I’ve watched internet marketing hit its stride and be brought before the tribunal of tribal marketing, only to be set on fire and sent on its not-so-merry way. I’ve listened to people tout their expertise about building blogs and followers and lists.
I’m cognizant that I don’t do this “correctly”.
I write sporadically.
Most of the time, I’m not even sure I have a topic. But I write and sometimes people read it.
I started working with a particularly brilliant writer about a month ago. We sat down and talked on Skype a week ago and she told me what she wanted to write about was boxes. Not literal boxes, mind you. But the boxes we put ourselves in — either to fit in or to stand out. We’re categorized and filed and desperate for something.
So, we create and curate our Selves on the internet — trying to put our best face forward. That picture you see over there? That’s been edited for colour, texture, and blemishes. There aren’t too many pictures of me that you’ll find that haven’t been meticulously crafted to show my best angles and my best features.
We’re overwrought with perfectionism, because the media is spoon-feeding us our daily dose of impossible. I mean, even porn stars don’t look like porn stars until the makeup artists are done with them. What chance do we, the plebeian masses, have?
Why create anything at all if no one is going to read it or consume it? Why get out of bed and go to work if no one gave a damn if we were there or not? Why live if we’re not going to be acknowledged?
We all want to be seen. We’re hungry for it.
Why not strive for value?
Instead of pandering to mass markets or, hell, niche markets: why not strive to create value in the online sphere? What do you, as a writer and creator, want to see? Do you think that the great innovators in the world went out and polled their people to see what they wanted to see? Or did they ask themselves, “Wouldn’t this be cool? Let’s do it!”
- What if we stopped writing for an audience?
- What if we stopped creating to get paid for it?
- What if we stopped making noise and started making art?
The next time that you sit down at your blog, your canvas, your altar of creation, ask yourself, “Why?”
- What compels you?
- The prestige? The paycheque? The power?
- Or the chance to add real value in this value-hungry world?
If no one read anything I wrote ever again, I’d still sit down at my computer from time to time and wax poetic about whatever’s crawling around in my skull at the time. If no one saw anything I designed, I’d still sketch wireframes and concepts until my eyes fell out. If no one acknowledged my worth, I’d still add my voice to the pool and create the value that I want to see in the world.