A Canadian blogger called timethief, based on Vancouver Island, with whom WordPress users might be familiar from the support forums, posed a question earlier this week on her blog – Has blogging changed you?
This, for what it’s worth, is my response – somewhat tweaked, I wrote the original late at night when I was tired, so this reflects rather more accurately what was going through my mind. Or trying to. You can read the original, should you wish (it’s about 300 words shorter), along with the rest of her blog, here .
If you’re a novice blogger timethief’s blog is a mine of information. We approach blogging advice from different directions, timethief from the nuts and bolts angle, me from what I know best, the writing angle.
You can find most of my posts on the subject here but try using the search box to search for “blogging” “language” and “writing” should bring up more. Try with and without the quotes.
So, has blogging changed me? I’ve been thinking about that since the email thudded into my Inbox a few days ago, and the answer, now as then, is that I don’t really know.
The reason I say that is because blogging is now so intrinsically a part of my life, and part of me, I don’t think it’s possible to say whether it’s changed me, or my life, or has itself been changed.
I think the last is closest to the truth, because the events of the past 16 months have dramatically changed my life, especially since I discovered, last year, that I’m terminally ill. Statistically, the next few months could be my endgame – we’ll see; I’m not writing myself off just yet. Or, for that matter, at all! After all, statistics can be notoriously unreliable. And that, of course, has quite definitely changed my blog as much as it has changed me.
I have, once the initial anger, and fear, wore off – there’s a limit to how long one can remain angry and scared and, let’s face it, neither accomplishes anything – become, certainly, more calm (which might not be apparent – I can’t afford anger, but I can feign it very well 😉 ), and, naturally enough, the content of my blog has changed. A lot of it became about me (not too surprisingly – this is the sort of subject that tends to dominate one’s outlook, though a degree of balance is slowly being restored, I hope). What I had to do was try to maintain my readers’ interest, not get whiney, and – well, basically, just be me. And, surprisingly, the expected slump in readership didn’t happen. In fact it increased substantially, and subscribers have more than doubled. Go figure.
My writing has changed, though, and I’m sure it’s improved, even matured somewhat – and, because so much was about me, I created a subsidiary identity for many of those posts, called Chronicles of the Heart, which rapidly became a tale of medical incompetence which is still ongoing. The title is a tad Mills & Boon-ish, in retrospect, but successful enough despite that – surprisingly so, at times.
Otherwise my writing continues much as before, focusing on disability and mobility issues in general, and disability rights, in particular, as they are being dramatically eroded pretty much day by day, along with whatever else attracts my notice. And, yes, the some of the old anger is, inevitably, still there – it’s impossible to write about our psychopathic government (our prime minister, David Cameron has such a deeply-rooted hatred of chronically sick and disabled people that he cannot possibly be sane), without getting angry, but the anger is (I hope!), more, well, measured, more creative, and much less sweary than it was.
So, to finally answer the question, has blogging changed me, I’d have to say, no, not noticeably, but the more powerful influences at work have probably prevented that, even though they have, quite definitely, changed the way I write.
Changed me too. Whether for the better or not is still up for debate, but I like to think it is.
Like many other bloggers, I’ve made many new friends in cyberspace. Some have drifted away, new ones have come in, and some sort of balance is maintained. A similar thing happened, and continues to happen, with Twitter too (I wrote a scathing blog post about Twitter a few years ago – I was so wrong!).
I think it’s fair to say, too, that I have more real friends online, who actually care about me, and what happens to me, than I have offline – not least because being housebound is extremely isolating. I prefer offline to “in real life,” by the way, as the latter implies that online events and people are, in some way, unreal, and that online relationships, in the looser meaning of the word, are an illusion, and that’s simply not true.
And in that respect, I suppose it’s true to say that blogging has changed my life, rather than changed me.
Oh, and if you feel that blogging has changed you, don’t tell me, tell timethief – it was her idea. Here’s the link again.