The statistics lie on my blog. It says I have over 100 followers. Don’t believe it. I have one follower: my sister. I’m not even convinced that she is reading this. I think sis did this as a gesture to make me feel needed – rather like mums buy valentines cards for their spotty son. Why do I struggle on with my blog? Well there seems to be some burning need to make sense of things, things that have gone and things that are yet to transpire.
It’s all been a humbling experience: a transition from hero to zero. As an editor, I once nurtured dozens of reviewers, a multitude of authors and countless readers. But now there’s not even a blip on the radar. Nobody seeks my opinion, nobody seeks to curry favour with me. How I once dreamt of a release from such burdensome tasks. Yet, how inconsequential things now seem – how insignificant I now feel, having retired prematurely.
The world is different now. Now instead of a world of ‘one to many’ communication – that same world is all about ‘many to many’ communication. We are all busy shouting messages . You now have to fight to get followers – I guess you have to have something worthwhile to say. And after all, do I have anything worth saying? Well, I suppose I have a few things to say to my sister. But generally she’s heard it all before. I guess you could say that she worries about me and my blog is a good monitor of moods!
Which brings me to a nagging question: why am I writing my blog? Lots of self-doubt surrounded this question. Did I really want to measure my own self-worth by the number of followers I had? Was I really arrogant enough to think that people needed to listen to me? Am I a narcissist preoccupied only with myself – was it all about vainglory? Or perhaps I needed to purge myself – a cathartic exercise – yes perhaps I am trying to simply purge my bowels? Get rid of some of the sh*t that goes with this illness.
Well, here’s a thing: they’re telling me it’s therapeutic – this blogging business. In the New York Times this month one blogger discussed all the scientific evidence. It seems that writing about myself is going to be therapeutic. By writing and rewriting a personal narrative I’m able to bring about a personal change in myself. Good thing really, as I don’t seem to be able to do anything about my physical state which is going rapidly in the wrong direction. My mental well-being is the one thing I have control over. By repeatedly revisiting my inner voice, so the argument goes, I should be able to bring about behavioural changes. Through these blogs I should be able to replace the cantankerous brother, husband and dad with a much more agreeable one.
So there we have it: a rationale for my blog – an explanation for the trials and tribulations of getting in front of this clunky computer and getting my petulant voice-to-text up and running. Although, I can’t help wishing that my blog could be mildly therapeutic for others as well.
Further reading (this is not homework)
Writing Your Way to Happiness
(blog by Tara Parker-Pope, The New York Times, January 19, 2015)
‘Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change’ by Timothy T Wilson