Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Christmas revolutions and musings on blogging

It's Christmas today. You might have noticed. Well, actually it's no longer Christmas for my UK brethren (what's the feminine/gender neutral term for 'brethren'?), but I'm currently in America, so it's still Crimbo here on the West Coast.

I got an iPad today. In fact it's what I'm typing this out on right now, as we speak. I've spent the day writing for my Creative Writing course at university, trying to convince myself to let my expression be free. I've watched 4 TED talks. I've felt inspired. As a result, I feel once more like a bit of a revolution in my online presence - in blogging, on twitter, and, to a lesser extent on Facebook.

When I started this blog, around this time last year, I intended to blog regularly about my reading passion, and particularly my love for Science Fiction and Fantasy. I let a few people down with false promises with regards both this blog, and external work. I spent a gap year with all the time in the world, and wrote quite a lot on, an excellent website devoted to Fantasy
literature. I was meant to write for them monthly. I didn't. Now that website has grown, and I'm no longer an active part of its community, despite the opportunity to be so. I tried to blog. I tried to be active on Twitter. These too failed.

I look back and I blame one thing: university. Now, I bloody love university. I love learning, I love the variety of reading it introduces me to, I love the excitement of a course in my passion, I love the opportunity to think more deeply on subjects that it never occurred to me I might be interested in (masochism and medieval religious writings anyone?). But there is one thing that university has not done for me, and that is make me productive externally. Yes, I write for the university newspaper, and yes I have a fairly decent social life and a wonderful girlfriend, but in some areas I feel that the university experience has not helped me flourish. In particular, I have less time to read what I want, less time and, as a result of less reading, less inclination or perhaps inspiration to muse upon what I want, and, less opportunity to read around what I want. To give an example: I only read about, and obsessively thus read around, Paul Kincaid's piece on 2011s 'Best of...' science fiction anthologies in the LARB. This despite massive blogosphere presence and informed opinion surrounding the matter.

As a result, I'm trying to make myself a promise. I want to blog. I want to read my chosen genres. I want my passion, true as it is, to come though better than it does. However, that means, for me, taking a step back. University and studying are the ultimate time sink, especially when you are trying to read, understand, think upon and question 800+ pages of unchosen, if not in interesting, texts per week (and then write 3-4000 word essays on them in the weeks that you aren't reading). To those that juggle a time sink degree and a time sink passion, I salute you. My step back is this: I will continue to blog, but I will de-specialise. I will realise that if what I think interests me, it may well interest another person. It may, indeed, interest you, if you've managed to read this far. This may be intensely personal feelings, abstract philosophising, or, and I hope that this occurs with regularity, reviews and explorations of SFF fiction, or anything in between. This, hopefully, will mean a blog that isn't updated 5 times in a year, but 50. A twitter feed that doesn't have month long gaps. Something interesting by myself online.

This realistic approach is a difficult one for me. I'm intensely self critical. Even now I'm thinking 'what if' - what if no one reads this blog? Does it matter? Am I blogging for an audience? If I am blogging for an audience, is that a bad thing? If not, is that a bad thing too? I think the answers to al these questions lies in a bit of a truism: live for yourself. I need to step back, and do want I enjoy, no matter the 'audience opinion'. I'm not Stephen King, or Wil Wheaton, or Ozzy Osbourne. I don't have millions of people expecting a certain thing from me, who would be dissappointed if I didn't give them it. When I reach that point, then I ought to worry. Until then, I'll ramble, and you can read me if you want, and I'll try to accept that.