BBBC 1 : "To blog, or not…"

Alicia Cheneaux (pronounced Ch’know?, which is also the name of her blog), is again leading what she’s dubbed the Big Bad Blogger Challenge. First I’ve heard of it, since I’ve only been doing this since last September, but it seems this is it’s third time around.

Here’s some criteria of sorts, and words of… encouragement?

Your blog posts do NOT have to be well thought out and constructed professional posts, they don’t have to be very long at all, and I think a lot of you are overthinking your blogs, which is why you do not update. Believe it or not, people enjoy reading just little personal things. I personally would LOVE to get to know some of you better through your blogging. Think of this as a writing exercise, like the busy work that your English or Creative Writing teacher may have given you, or like NaNoWriMo.

And here’s the topic for Round 1: Why did you become a blogger? How has it enriched your life?

Even though it’s only been 9 months since I began, for the life of me I can’t remember now how I even discovered the SLogosphere. I guess I must’ve been researching (a.k.a. using Google), god knows what about… I can tell you, though, which first two SL-related blogs I added to to a list of bookmarks that is now almost 30 entries long: Botgirl’s Second Life Diary and Tateru Nino’s Dwell On It. From there, I’ve relied on a cascading series of references — that is: blogrolls, embedded links, commenters, and recommendations via Twitter (the list of people I follow on Twitter has expanded in parallel with the list of blogs I read, and it’s almost a one-to-one correspondence).

Oh, right — that’s about me reading, not writing. But ch’know… a big chunk of SL blogging is a form of extended conversation, call-and-response, as we trade ideas, expand upon them, offer our own perspectives, and sometimes refute what someone else has said. I wanted in on that, and the only way to do that was to speak up. So I did.

Which, more or less, answers the second question. Blogging has enriched my life by introducing me to intelligent people with interesting things to say, who say them in interesting ways… and by challenging me to try to rise to that level with my own writing.

A while back (call it 5 years ago), I was pretty active as an online poet: published in a few e-zines, edited poetry for another one, and did ‘flash’ poetry sessions at workshop-style websites. Those are kind of like this exercise, but you only get an hour. I thought I was fairly good at encapsulating an idea in as few evocative words as possible — I was a minimalist poet — but what I really wanted to write was science-fiction. In fact, I’ve wanted to do that ever since I’ve been reading the stuff: 50 years, more or less. But after trying it out, numerous times, I learned something: I suck at fiction. Can’t finish a story worth a damn.

What I am good at — I think? — is writing essays. Those, I can see the end of, and reach it with a reasonable amount of words. Better still, along the way I’m teaching myself more about whatever the topic is, so that I can fill my readers in (all two dozen of them) and back up my opinion with fact.

“Overthinking” my blogs? Hardly. A decent essay is not stream-of-consciousness (which you should be able to tell from reading this). I’ve been known to take as long as 8 hours to get one ready to hit the Publish button. I “update” when a topic (often someone else’s blog) demands that I respond to it, and not a moment sooner.

As for “little personal things”… this is as about as close as you’re ever going to get.



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