To Consume or Create?

These days when I sit down to write I usually stare at the page for a few seconds, consider some different things to say, and then, without really thinking about what I’m doing or how unhelpful it can be, go to twitter to check on what people are talking about.

Being aware of the world and what people are saying is an important aspect of the writing life and life in general, but it’s slippery territory.  Often my motivation is to “fit in.”  I want to write something that people will read, so I look for clues in what other people have written.  Sometimes I get so caught up in wanting people to like what I’ve done that I don’t even begin.  Other times the seduction of consuming is greater than the challenge of creating.  (You should know: I’m not against consuming, as long as that’s not all I’m doing.)

And then there’s just the facts of life: my general confusion about what to write on this lovely little blog is compounded by the sad fact that I’m hopelessly out of the loop.  I didn’t get whatever gene other people have that seamlessly tunes them into what’s new or trending or at the very least, interesting.  (You cool kids out there would have laughed for days at my high school walkman selection.)  A scenario in my home will often go like this:

“Hey Dave” (to my husband) “did you hear about the [super awesome, amazing/video/website/article] I just found?”

“Oh,” he’ll say, that knowing look creeping into his eyes.   “Yeah, I saw that a few weeks ago.”

It’s  a joke between us now.

This total uncoolness of mine is worsened by the fact that I have two kids (one’s just five weeks old) and I spend most of my time changing diapers, breastfeeding, cooking, and when I can get online, looking up baby fussiness, or fast recipes, or if I’m avoiding writing or just trying to remain an engaged person in the midst of baby takeover, the twitter feed or the New York Times or even Facebook.

This question I ask myself when I sit down to my computer to create rather than consume is one I imagine first-time bloggers ask often.  And fundamentally, it’s a question of who I am and what use I want to be to the world.  The easy way out – the stuff that comes so naturally to those who journal – will not fit here.  And certainly, not everyone will like what I say.  Finding something that fits me uniquely but is useful to others is a lot harder than looking for someone else’s witty post to re-tweet, but I know it’s worth the effort.

All that’s to say: thanks for reading and stay tuned.

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2 thoughts on “To Consume or Create?”

  1. Thank you for this post Penny. I struggle with the same thing. Sometimes looking at other people’s blogs or twitters leaves me confused, and I have to be reminded that I don’t need to write like them. I just need to be myself, and write about the things God lays on my heart. I hope you are finding time to create in the busyness of motherhood. Grace and peace.

    1. Keep doing it! I think we figure out as we write, even if we have to trash most of it. It can be maddening, and then you get to one good (or at least not awful) sentence (I’m thinking of bird by bird, of course). I hope that’s how blogging is eventually, too.

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