“You’re doing NaBloPoMo? Why?”
“It’s a bunch of mommy-bloggers and foodies, and they don’t write very well. Why associate yourself with them?”
My colleagues and friends expect bad writing about subjects that don’t interest them, and that’s what they find when they browse through the NaBloPoMo blogroll.
My experience has been a little different.
The first time I joined the NaBloPoMo challenge, I didn’t know what to expect. I did it for the personal discipline: committing to 30 days of personal writing seemed like a good way to get out of my techwriting mind-set and gain experience with a different type of non-fiction creativity.
It worked. I still don’t post as regularly as I’d like to, but I’ve experimented with a lot of different ideas and techniques: memoir, art research, social issues, photo essays, rants, and idle musings. It’s fun!
Part of the challenge commitment is to read and comment on other bloggers’ posts. Yes, some of them don’t write well. It’s been interesting, though, to watch some of them improve over the four years I’ve been doing this. One young woman, whose first language is not English, has gone from haltingly expressed teen angst to fluent descriptions of culture clash as she grows to maturity.
Mommy bloggers? Yes. Foodies? Yes. Some of them don’t interest me, but others are wonderful. There’s Stacey, of PositivelyStacey.com. She’s an English teacher, so her writing doesn’t make me cringe. And just when I lapse into thinking of her as “only” a food blogger, she comes up with something like “16th Avenue Tiled Steps ~ a Hidden Treasure in San Francisco” or “A Dozen Ways to Be a Better Human.”
Then there is Sojourner’s Sojourns. Sort of a mommy blog, sometimes. Sometimes, more like a foodie blog. Sometimes the posts are low-key sales pieces for her hand-crafted herbal remedies, and sometimes there are articles on exotic travel destinations. Always well-written, though, and usually with outstanding photographs as illustrations. I love it.
If we expect boring bricks, we see boring bricks. If we expect bright skies and clouds shaped like dinosaurs, maybe—just maybe—we’ll see something strange and wonderful.