Blogging is a state of mind. When you’re in it, everything gives you ideas for posts; when you’re not, all your best thoughts seem worthless. Some days and weeks you find ideas everywhere and rattle off posts with ease; everything you watch, do or read seems important and you have no trouble putting your thoughts into words. You might even start to worry that you are posting too much, that perhaps you should save some of these ideas for a slower time, so that people don’t expect more frequent updates than you can maintain. You check your sitemeter twenty times a day.
But other days and weeks (hopefully not months!) you can’t find anything profound to say at all; you worry about every post – whether you’ve talked about this topic too much, whether your writing is any good, or whether you’ve linked that blog too often. You think you don’t have time to post, then spend four hours watching reruns on Hulu. But you still check your sitemeter twenty times a day…
I tend to go back and forth between these extremes, but it seems like no matter which side of the line I’m on, I keep running into the same problem: I start to see everything for its “blogworthiness.” I read a book or an article, and I don’t think, “what here is important to me?” but “what here could I blog about?” I find myself watching TV shows, not because I enjoy them, but looking for something worth posting about. Suddenly it doesn’t matter whether I enjoyed a show – whether it had a good twist at the end or revealed something intriguing about a character’s past – if nothing worth posting stood out, I feel cheated.
I’ve noticed that this isn’t just true of blogging. If my daughter does something cute or memorable and I fail to catch it on camera, it almost feels like a waste. And when I do catch something impressive or funny, my first thought is not gratefulness that I preserved the memory of it, but a wild dream of becoming the most popular video on YouTube or winning ten thousand dollars on America’s Funniest Home Videos. I’ve never submitted anything to either one of those, but the thought always crosses my mind. I don’t know if I’m alone in this, but I seem to be very easily tempted by our culture’s focus on popularity. The value of a thing, it often seems, is judged primarily by how popular it is. Mundane events gain their value purely from what other people might think of them.
It’s a strange kind of vicarious existence, looking at one’s life for its “blogworthiness,” but it’s a trap I fall into rather often. Which, I think, is the main reason I shift in and out of the blogging state of mind. After a while, I just want to watch a show for the pure joy of it, or read a book without worrying whether anyone else wants to hear about it.