Lately I’ve been having a bit of a blogging identity crisis. I’ve only recently become comfortable with the label writer. It always seemed inauthentic of me to declare myself a writer simply because I write. Or have written something before. And then there is the label blogger. Blogging is much more than writing. And sometimes blogging excludes writing all together.
I had come to believe that they were mutually exclusive. I could call myself a writer and negate the blogging identity. Or I could call myself a blogger and that eliminated the idea that I was a writer.
And it actually all started with soap.
A writer-blogger or a writer who has a blog or a blogger who has now written a book I follow recently made a comment on her Twitter feed that her life would be so much simpler if she instead wrote about making soap.
That didn’t sit well with me. In fact, it has kind nibbled and festered. I wondered about all of the soap-making bloggers, the crafting writers, the ones who aren’t quite sure what they are. I wondered how a comment like that might make them feel. True, this writer sometimes writes about big things. Controversial things. She does it in a beautiful way with words are striking and evocative. I’m sure her courage to write about these topics do sometimes complicate her life.
I’m not a soap-maker. But I am a triathlete. I cook and bake and craft with my children. And I used to write about those things. But suddenly, those things didn’t seem writer-worthy anymore. Not unless with them I could impart some wisdom, something more writerly. And while I loved the deep writing and thinking that my posts (when I had the time to write them) contained, I wasn’t fulfilled. I was missing something.
And here’s the real crux: I was worried that if I did write about running or biking or swimming or crafting in a way that wasn’t my lofty and misplaced ideal of writerly, if my blog didn’t appear to be a “writer’s” blog, then I was selling out. But in the same breath, I would admire other blogs that contained a variety of content. Bloggers who could write, really write, about wonderful topics, but could also share other parts of themselves and interests and lives in a way that was equally as full.
I realized I had built a very small writing and blogging box that didn’t allow for much breathing and flexing and experimenting. It opened to a small amount of deep writing; it showcased my life and my thinking in very small snippets, but it did not make me a happy writer. Or blogger. Some writers (or bloggers) thrive there. I did not.
Stepping out of that box and removing self-placed expectations has been both frightening and freeing. I wrote about a craft yesterday and have started to take it down no less than five times. But each time I’ve stopped myself. Because my blog is my own. The content I post is intentional and full and will always remain true to my purpose for being there. And if it doesn’t, only then will I take it down.
So whether I’m a blogger, a writer, a blogger who writes, or a writer who blogs, really all that matters is that I write. Intentionally, from my heart, and with a purpose. Even if it is about soap.