One of the reasons I don't post on this blog very much is that, really, I'm pretty sure about 80% of the world has a better, more-informed opinion than me on most things literary. It's hard not to feel like that when the universe of literature is so vast and infinite, and they teach university courses on criticism of it. (Most of which, in university, I avoided, or coasted through, or - in one memorable case - accidentally attended a totally different course, not discovering my mistake until I received the "Fail" on my transcript for non-attendance.)
But, I tell myself, how stupid is that? Today on her blog, my friend Marie posted this lovely list of reasons she gets up (insanely early, I might add) to write. And her reasons must pay off, because she's working on her fifth published novel and was a finalist for the Aurora Award last month. She loves to write and she works damn hard at it.
Now, getting up to work on your novel isn't the same as sitting down to write your blog... or is it? It's all about keeping at it, after all. And it's also about not being paralyzed by worrying about what other people are going to think. Whether you're being 'useful' or not. Or, as another friend put it to me, when you do get recognized for your work, "it makes all the time and care you put into tending your blog-garden worth it."
What she was referring to was this: the other day, I got home with an idea (suggested by the aforementioned Marie) for a blog post for my other, more well-followed, blog, The Incidental Cyclist. It was just a funny little burst of "flyting" (which I occasionally indulge in, because I amuse myself) about the meaninglessness of certain Internet comments. Within an hour, I had a message from the collaborative news site OpenFile, asking to repost my rant, and offering me actual money for it. When I wrote it, I was completely uninterested in who was going to read it (other than Marie, who had gone into giggles with me talking about the idea.) You never know. You just write stuff, from where you are, and sometimes other people like it and sometimes they don't.
But if you never write stuff because you think someone else out there has probably already written it better, or someone else out there will think you're wrong or ignorant, or whatever, then you know what happened?
You didn't write it.
Now, to try and remember that.