Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bloggity Bloggerson

I have a confession to make: My blog has not always been my own. Oh, the words are written entirely by me and the events and my reactions really happened, but I have been paid to write it. Eight columns a month.

More than five years ago, I was approached by an online business and asked to become a contributor to its website. In exchange for a small honorarium, I was to write about my life, experiences and observations of living in Collingwood.

The company I wrote for had only one request: that I avoid local politics. The owners felt no matter what side of any issue I took, the result would be divisive and unhelpful to the work they were doing. I was to be light and funny and thoughtful, but not political.

I imposed a limit of my own, too, figuring it is just smart to avoid trashing any businesses represented on the site where my writing would appear.

For the most part, I have avoided politics and trashing. I have tried in my musings to be witty when possible, and when I couldn't come up with witty, I tried to be self-deprecating. When I can't manage witty or self-deprecating, I have aimed for gently thought-provoking.

At the end of last year, my deal with the business came to an end, which leaves me with a conundrum: do I keep writing when I'm not being paid to do it?

I have developed two lists:

Reasons to Quit Blogging:

I would never ever have started a blog were it not for the money. Like many women, I keep a journal wherein I can and do pour my complaints about my sometimes fractious family and any disappointments in my spouse (hardly any, honey, honest!), so if I'm writing for free, I can do it there.

I have a strong aversion to narcissists and blowhards, both traits which seem rather prevalent in the blogosphere, (local examples excepted, of course!) and I try not to become that which I despise.

I already have a perfectly good outlet for public self-expression in the form of a weekday morning radio show.

Reasons to Continue Blogging:

I am a better writer and a clearer thinker after five years of trying to be succinct in my observations.

I enjoy knowing there are people who seek out what I write. Some of you aren't even related to me! (OK, so that anti-narcissism thing might not be working out as well as I had hoped...)

Now that the writing is my own, I can perhaps write more often and less gently about local politics, which would be a relief, as I have opinions to spare.

Now that the writing is solely my own, I can spill any stories of crappy service and inflated prices at local stores and address why I will never darken the door of some local establishments ever again.

What to do, what to do...

My sweetheart says as long as I don't get us sued and avoid getting us kicked out of restaurants, he has no opinion on the matter.

I read somewhere that the mark of a true writer is that they can't not write; that a true artist can't not produce art, paycheque notwithstanding. I guess I'll soon find out whether I'm the real thing.

Addendum:
I guess I might have mentioned the no politics proviso in my defence during a very short enounter with a town councillor some time ago, but I never got the chance.

After introducing myself, shaking his hand and saying what media outlet I work for, I said, "We have something in common, you and I. I write a blog, too."
"Yes, but mine is about politics." and he walked away.

Since this guy is a self-professed expert in media relations, and this was the first (and so far only) time he had met this particular member of the local media, I remain confused at his sneering brush-off. I don't expect to be fawned over, but there is something to be said for basic courtesy. If nothing else, perhaps in hopes of a vote.

6 comments:

  1. Please keep writing. Continue to set an example for people that their voices can be heard. Plus, how else will I ever know whether I'm a narcissist or a blowhard (perhaps both?)

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  2. M...
    I would say keep it going. Also I would say keep going in the direction you are going. There is enough political writing and all the craziness that comes goes with it. Collingwood is very "Twin Peakish" when it comes to their politics. Why on earth would you like to join all that??? Unless you do want to walk around town carrying a log.
    So... keep on writing!
    Just my 2 cents.
    JJ

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  3. I already know I'm a blowhard... and I have no problem with Mariane pointing it out.
    Just as long as she doesn't accuse me of being a shill...

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  4. OK 3 guesses on who the sneering councilor was?

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  5. Keep doing it as long as you enjoy it...

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  6. Greetings from mid-beach. PLEASE keep up your blog. But, more important, keep it worthwhile for you!

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