Deep thoughts, random insights, and musings by Susan Jacobs

Sunday, December 31, 2006

My shy blog

Seeing as it is New Year’s Eve, a time when many people resolve to do better in some aspect of their lives, I thought I would blog about a topic that I have been meaning to address for some time.

Since I began blogging, I have done so only sporadically, for reasons which I believe are related strongly to my personality type. (Other factors, including limited time and the fact that I write for a living and most of my creative energy goes toward that endeavor are also partly responsible.) By nature, I am a private person, and by their nature, blogs are public forums that are most interesting when they explore the private thoughts and ideas of their writers. While there are many blogs whose content is similar to print publications and traditional Web sites, the genre has been revolutionized by the idea that Everyman’s inner thoughts are interesting enough for perfect strangers to read.

On one hand, as a person who is somewhat shy, there is something very liberating about having a place to express my ideas on my own terms. On the other hand, the filter that keeps me from saying and doing certain things in public, also keeps me from spontaneously posting most of the time. Every now and then, I have put up posts that are spur of the moment and not particularly thought-out (and probably more in keeping with the purpose of this medium), but those posts are the exception, not the rule. I am someone who likes to think about what I say and write before I invite others into the workings of my mind. (I must say, though, that I am grateful that not all bloggers are like me since I relish reading what others have to say.)

Even though I write for a living, and do so on nearly a daily basis, the process of writing for me remains one that is very intense. I am blessed with the ability to write quickly, but the hour or two I spend intensely writing an article is often preceded by many hours of passively or actively mulling over a topic. When I sit down to write, the process – when done best – is totally enveloping of both my mind and emotions. It is sort of a concentrated spilling of ideas onto a page (or, more typically, into a computer) that is both exhilarating and exhausting. Like many writers, as much as I need and love to write, I also put it off until it is absolutely necessary since the process is so consuming.

I think many writers feel similarly about the work they do, but I think blogging presents additional obstacles for those of us who are either introverted or shy. It is important to note that the two categories are different. I happen to be both introverted and shy, but there are many people who are one or the other. Introverts gain energy from spending time alone, whereas extroverts are energized by being with other people. People who are shy are self conscious about what others think of them and may experience performance anxiety in a range of situations, from public speaking to eating in front of others.

I may be wrong, but I have the impression that bloggers who are less self-conscious in life may be more willing to “think out loud” on their blogs. That is to say, someone who enjoys leading the conversation at a dinner party may equally enjoy raising a host of issues on the blogosphere, whereas someone who prefers to listen to dinner conversation and interject only periodically may have less frequent blogging patterns. I say this not as an excuse for my own lapses in blogging, but as an exploration of what impels me to blog or not to blog.

At this point, I plan to continue blogging at the same infrequent intervals, since that method seems to suit me best. I do want to share my thoughts with my readers. At least I think I do. :)