One thing I like about this new PostADay blog that WordPress has is that, when I feel like I should post a new post, but can’t really think of anything to write, they’ve got the solution already. So today (or really it was a few days ago, but that’s not the point), they said to talk about why you started blogging. I don’t think I’ve spoken about it before necessarily, but it’s a good topic. After all, I’m still sort of celebrating a year of blogging, so it fits, doesn’t it?
It goes a little deeper than that.
A long time ago, I wanted to make a movie. I had this story in my head that was so clear, I couldn’t imagine it being told any other way. But an eleven-year-old can’t make a movie. So since I loved reading, I decided I’d try to write it.
I failed. Miserably.
Then some time later, after a few repeated failures (mostly due to my lack of writing capability, and my utterly unreadable penmanship), a friend of mine wrote a story and let me read it. And it was good! On the one hand, I was jealous–how come he could write a story, but I couldn’t?! On the other hand, I felt competitive: If he could write a story, so could I.
By now my family had sequestered a computer and I’d read The Lord of the Rings, which really, if you’re a kid wanting to learn to write who hates to do his English homework, it’s the series to read: It’ll teach you all you need to know about style and punctuation, or at least enough to get you started without sounding too bad.
I’d also had some inspiration garnered from spending many nights with my face pressed to the car window looking up at the stars and thinking about this story I so desperately longed to write. And it hit me, somewhere between Ursa Major and Orion’s Belt, that before I could write this story, I had to write the story that came before it.
So I took a breath, I sat at our computer, and with two fingers I forged away… First the first few hundred words, then a few thousand more, and tens of thousand, and at some point I even reached over a hundred thousand words. That’s not to say the story was great. In fact, I had to have written and rewritten (and lost due to computer crashes and forced to start over) more times than I care to recall, especially those occasions when the computer crashed. I was devastated.
With this endeavor I came to love writing. I soon desired to become a famous author. I fostered a want for literary fame.
Many years later (after more failures and many stalemates in writing this tale, which now amounts to a large pile of old, poorly written manuscripts and a couple bursting binders full of notes), I learned about blogs. I had a new aspiration: To have my own blog that could serve as a stepping stone to fame, between unknown writer and published millionaire.
I thought it might be my way to get there.
After a year of blogging, however, this has become more than just a way for me to get my name out (although I do hope it’s doing that, but for other reasons you’ll soon see): Blogging has given me a chance to share my voice.
Writing, as oft is over-said, is a solitary art. Being able to write my thoughts like this, being able to write stories and put them here for people to read, being able to study the Pirkei Avot and teach it to a small degree–all of these things are incredibly fulfilling, and there are few things more rewarding than the responses I get when people tell me they’ve enjoyed reading one of my stories or have thought about something in a new way or from a different angle because they read one of my essays. The truest reward for a writer is to be read and appreciated. I get a small taste of this here, and for a still-unknown writer such as myself, a small taste means the world.
It inspires me to write new stories. It encourages me to keep writing. It motivates me to never give up.
All of these rewards mean so much more than fame. Even if I never become a famous writer, even if I’m only ever read by a small group of people not even dedicated enough to be called fans, simply knowing I have them, just knowing that someone gains something small from what I write, will make every word and every minute worth it.
Blogging isn’t about fame anymore. It’s about expression and connections. It’s become a beautiful thing, and I hope it only blossoms further as I keep going.