Friday, September 27, 2013

Day 54 of 365: Gym Accessories

You name it, I've had it.

I've had a Geocities website (a Backstreet Boys fan page, because who else but pre-teen girls with an obsessive love for a boyband would have a Geocities site?). I've had a Homestead (aka the lesser-known Geocities) website, which housed what I'd like to think of as a precursor to Web 2.0 (because one 13-year-old's "hang out website" totally influenced the evolution of social networking). I've done Kiwibox, Allpoetry, Storywrite, Livejournal, Xanga, Wordpress, and (obviously) Blogspot. I did YouTube vlogs for years, until the passion to make videos petered out and YouTube morphed from a place for vloggers to a place for corporate-sponsored production teams and people hoping their video of licking a dirty sock goes viral. I placed my big toe into Tumblr (for a "Found at the Dollar Store" blog that went no where fast). I've even become a writer for Medium. I tweet more than I care to admit and I use Instagram for essentially storytelling. I think all I'm missing now is a Vine account.

There's something new and fresh and giddiness-inducing about creating a new blog. It's a new name, with a new layout, and potentially a brand new start. It's like buying a brand new outfit, one that you throw on the second you get home and parade around with a feeling like you'll never love an outfit as much as you love that current one.

Being friends with primarily writers and artists means I've got a laundry list of blogs that I check up on. Some are beyond incredible. My high school friend is now a photojournalist who has worked with everyone from the NY Daily Post to National Geographic. Her blog houses some of the most intense photos I have ever seen, from the 2008 presidential election to a brothel in New Delhi. My old writing workshop friend has a knack for simplistic prose than can pack a punch. All websites that I gladly check up on, even if they are rarely updated.

However, for every stellar, well-kept blog, I deal with a thousand abandoned blogs. Not a month goes by without a friend either privately messaging or publicly posting a link to their brand new blog. A new blog, one that they'll update constantly -- not like their old blog, that they fell out of sorts with. This one will be different. This one will be inspiring. And, like every other blog before, it falls by the wayside within a month. Maybe if the blog is lucky, it will be a few semi-apologetic "I never update this anymore" posts, followed by a half-hearted stab at an entry, before being left behind in favor of a new blog, with a new name, and a new background image.

Given my history with the writing websites, it might be hypocritical of me to look down on such practices. But, as I see it, while I've cast a wide net over the years, I tend to stay loyal to the websites I love. I've had my Livejournal now for nearly 10 years. My crafts blog is edging in on 2 years old. And, while I've only had this blog for barely two months, I've posted every single day, even on days when I didn't really feel like writing. So, as someone who has been a little devoted in a lot of places as well as a lot devoted in a few places, I think I have a right to weigh in on this matter.

Making a new blog is like buying new gym accessories. A new set of weights here, a brand new pair of compression pants there. It's all new and shiny and exciting and surely these brand new things will inspire you to work out now. And it will, for a solid week or two. Then the novelty wears off and you're back to where you started.

Like working out, writing -- and writing consistently -- requires more than something different to "inspire" you. Having a million different blogs for a million different things won't really solve the core problem. What is it that's keeping you back from your goal (writing- or exercise-wise)? If it's a lack of inspiration, then a brand new blog won't solve that. You have to dig deeper. You have to force yourself to experience life a different way, to add words onto a blank page (even if it's just, "shit shit shit shit shit..."), to see what it is that keeps you from making your ideas come to life.

I'm glad that the internet doesn't require constant webcam recording, because the last thing my writer friends need is to see the knowing smile that creeps on my face when they link me to yet another blog. I'd be out of line to say anything, so I don't. But part of me just wants to reply with, "Instead of spending 10 minutes signing up for another blogging site, go on a walk for 10 minutes. Learn about another culture for 10 minutes. Meditate for 10 minutes. So something -- anything -- more substantial than essentially going to Sports Authority and buying your 8th pair of yoga pants.

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