Monday, November 30, 2009

NaBloPoMo PostMortem

Well, with this post, I've accomplished it. A post a day for thirty days. So, let's finish up this blogging experiment with some thoughts on whether it succeeded and what I may have learned from it.

I can mentally divide my NaBloPoMo posts into three categories: those that I would have written anyway, those that I might not have written otherwise but were fun to work on or nicely expand the scope of my blog, and those that are ridiculous nonsense slapped up for the sake of fulfilling my goal. So the biggest conclusion I have drawn from the experience is that, while "writing every day generates excellence," writing something every day for public consumption is far too stressful. This month I came across an interview clip where Tony Kushner says, "The thing that all writers must say to themselves, to start writing, is, 'Nobody ever has to see this thing. I can throw it away, I'm alone with it, no one has to know what an idiot I really am. I can burn it! If it doesn't work, if it really sucks, I can just pretend that it never happened.' But directors can't do that."

How apt, I thought. Because, if directors can't do that, neither can bloggers. As Kushner implies, what makes blogging so weird is that it is the world's first instantaneously public kind of writing. Writing has always been lonely and hard; now, in addition to that, it offers an easy way of embarrassing yourself in public!

I never created a blog mission statement or anything, but I do have a sense of what are and are not topics for marissabidilla, and some general guidelines like "don't get too personal." I don't think I crossed any of my boundaries in the course of these thirty days, but I definitely felt that, if you're under such intense pressure to generate a post a day, it would be really easy to slip up, to reveal more of yourself than you'd want to reveal if you were thinking clearly.

And, like I said, daily blogging was not always fun. For instance, on Saturday 11/14, I was having an evening out (Playwrights' Pub Night) and knew I needed to post something before I left my house. But I seemed to have no good ideas, and almost panicked, and by the time I managed to put something up, that meant that I'd be late to Pub Night.

Or, on Sunday 11/8, I had several good ideas for long posts, but insufficient time to write them. I was finding it very hard to think of an idea for a short post, and I wanted to get the day's blogging over with quickly, so I could enjoy the Mad Men finale in peace. So when I overheard French Guys #1 and 2 going into their riff on "Barefoot in the Park," I said a silent prayer of thanks to the blog gods that this conversation--a perfect marissabidilla topic--had taken place and I could just transcribe it!

This monthlong experiment has given me newfound respect for people who can maintain a high-quality blog while posting every day. (Especially the people who can post every day and still find the time for other, non-blog, creative endeavors. How do they do it?) But it has made me realize that I, personally, need a slower blogging-rhythm, and that there is no shame in that. In that sense, though my playwriting has languished this month, I do believe that NaBloPoMo has been valuable for me, teaching me something about myself and my blogging philosophy. I've had this blog for almost 2 1/2 years and got into a bit of a rut in August/September, so maybe it made sense to swing the pendulum in the other direction for November. And I'd probably recommend an experiment like this to other people who've been blogging for about as long as I have or who need a bit of a kick-start.

But don't expect me to keep this up and don't expect me to do it again next year.


Mead said...

Too late. Google alerts have been set into motion. I plan to start pestering you around May Day.

Marissa said...

Mayday, mayday!

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