This is my reaction to a post by writer Gayla Trail, who thoughtfully and eloquently laid out her own thoughts on the need for garden writing genre “to expand and and take risks.” Where she wants more out of the garden writing genre (and she’s emphatic that she’s a writer), I see bloggers in various categories wanting to push out, expand, and take risks on their own blogs. Personally I don’t think those are mutually exclusive impulses; I don’t think one can exist without the other. They are interwoven. However, after a Twitter conversation with her, I have edited my original introduction to this post because I misread and consequently misrepresented her intention. I read into it a desire to push within her own blog. She meant to call strictly for, in her words, “MORE from the industry.” Mea culpa.
Yet even after the conversation and upon rereading the piece I still hear the same notes, phrasing, and a desire for change, shift, risk that I hear coming from other writers, specifically bloggers. I can’t separate those calls and desires to take risks. A push toward blog drift… or blogging drift? Might they be one and the same? I don’t know for sure. I just know these issues– a desire to for something MORE–keep coming up at the macro and micro levels of blogging. So I tried to pull it all together, clumsily and hastily, to lay out what I’m seeing online.
My friend Colleen is experiencing it. So is my friend Jimmie. Even Jen’s got signs of it, although this marvelous post of hers hints at some larger, powerful changes. [ETA: Gwyn just posted about her major shift.] Heck, I went through it. (Coincidentally, I went into blog drift in November. A seasonal shift brings this about, maybe?)
In my opinion, blog drift is natural and normal. In fact, I think blog drift is going to be a big trend, a thing.
Because it’s inevitable that real writers–people who come to blogging to connect, persuade, inform, and entertain rather than solely to make money or become famous–will seek to liberate themselves from the constraints of being a “mom blogger,” a “homeschool blogger,” or a “garden blogger.” Sure, many people are happy to claim those categories and stay with them. That’s fine and perfectly valid as a choice.
But guess what? We don’t always get to choose how this blog thing plays out. Life happens. Kids grow up. Droughts hit and gardens shrivel because the gardener gets too sick to care for them. People write about plants/parenting/basket-making until it seems that nothing else can be said.
If we’re lucky, we get older, too. We start to crave universal truths, to want to poke and prod at our lives and disclose things to see if we’re in this together or not.
Like I suggested, I went through this drift phase. I’m still sort of going through it as I parse through some hard lessons that I experienced offline this past year. I think it’s a net positive to branch out, though.
That’s because I believe the world needs writers to utilize blogs and books to examine life in general, the good-and-sticky stuff that defies categorization.
That is what the medium of blogging began as–a place to examine life. Before the brands, the sponsorships, the book deals, the controversies, blogging was about writing, creative expression, and connection.
I say it’s time to reclaim that heart–the heart of blogging.
The upshot of this post? The takeaway?
If you experience blog drift, bravely lean in to it.
I’m ready to cheer you on.
Note that I have a new, private Facebook group with RW&G fans who are experiencing the impulse to connect, collaborate and create through a new net. There’s about 50 of us over there, and I’m fairly selective about whom we add. If you’re interested in joining, please contact me, tell me what your struggling with as a writer or creative person (and we’re ALL creative), and you sound like a good fit for the group, then I’ll send you the link.