The other day, I read a blog post by artist Austin Kleon on how blogging is a forgiving medium, as compared to ink, pastels, or performance. You can quietly go into correct a typo and no one will be the wiser. You can update an opinion, or simply click delete button if an old thought no longer rings true. My boyfriend attended Nintendo’s fine art school in the early 2000s and has spoken in excruciating detail about the technique required to emulate Tim Burton’s seemingly simple sketches and capture the series of convex curves that make up Wonder Woman with a single line. As I peer down at his sketchbooks, I can’t help but murmur,
“That sounds like a lot of pressure and a lot of starting over…”
“Blog posts can be edited, added to, improved upon. If you missed something, you can fix it.”— Austin Kleon
In blogging there is no pressure, especially since this is a personal blog. I’m not required to show up in a regular and consistent way or speak on designated topics in a formulaic manner. I see so many articles suggesting that a blog should carve out its niche. While this makes sense from a growth or monetary perspective, limiting your range of topics is effectively backing creativity into a corner. While that make sense of someone is deeply passionate about a singular topic, seeking out a unique type of reader or amass a large audience, those article fail to mention that blogging can be its own art form for some–a messy, cathartic, all-over-the-place, and authentic creative exercise. Art can simply be an expression, or stepping along one’s personal journey.
When I was a child, I spent lunchtime in the school library and weekends at the city library, pursuing through varies picture books, fictional fantasies, and encyclopedias. I discovered obscure topics and themes I might not have encountered without that relentless curiosity. Likewise, one’s blog can become a digital art studio–a place to explore your thoughts and interests and to identify which topics continually draw your interest.
Eleven years ago, my first blog helped me navigate the transition from college student to psuedo-adult trying to find my path in the real world. My journal and my online writing space encouraged me to pay close attention to me life, and my intimate audience gave me permission to open up my heart and explore my emotions. In those three years of almost-daily writing, I never discovered my niche (though it was likely a combination of silver linings inspiration, personal development tips, and book reviews). However, aimless writing helped me find my voice and my footing. It helped me evolve into the person who I am today.
“But blogging feels to me like a world of endless drafting, endless revisioning. A much more forgiving medium.”— Austin Kleon
Today, I view blogging quite similarly. After several years of chronic illness and a feeling of having lost my place in the book of life, I came back here to exhume my dreams and rediscover myself. What began as the intention to explore human-factors design, ethics in technology, and the conveyance of stories in engineering evolved (or devolved) into a mashup of medical updates, poorly-photographed sewing projects, poetry, lessons in finance, relationship advice, random musing, and a series of interesting links that I have enjoyed.
And I absolutely adore it. It was exactly what needed, and still need, at this stage of my life. I just show up to write and to read and feel connected to strangers in an authentic and loving way. My visitor count is low, I have an small and intimate readership, I’m slow to respond to comments, and I don’t understand the new WordPress block view or SEO. From the outside, I’m terrible at this whole blogging thing. This is still my favorite place to be.
I don’t need a niche theme, a large crowd, widespread recognition, or a product to peddle. At least not at this stage. I just need a place where I can create something, and to create that something in a forgiving medium that allows for corrections. Here, there is no need for erasers, seam rippers, or apologies, and–right now–that is the most liberating feeling in the world.
I am just here to create. And I am so happy that you are here too.