Last Sunday night, I watched the HBO show The Newsroom after a busy Thanksgiving weekend. I like the show, which focuses on the behind-the-scenes of a fictional newsroom and uses creator Aaron Sorkin’s trademark fast and witty dialogue. The characters are top-notch journalists, serious news reporters. This season, one of them is dating a woman who – gasp! – starts writing about her own life for a website. He accuses her of vanity, of trying to start her own reality show, of, basically, selling out.
As a blogger, this made me feel bad about myself and question why I’m doing it. Am I selling out my child and my family in the hopes of drawing attention to myself? Am I revealing too much? Am I contributing to a culture where anyone can become a “writer,” whether they’re any good at it or not?
Here’s the thing: I never really considered myself a journalist. I did not go to J-school – in fact I didn’t even major in journalism. I was an English and History major. What I also was, though, was a very good writer. I knew about sentence structure, grammar, how to outline a paper, how to prove my point. I also loved literature. After college, I fell into the publishing world by becoming a proofreader and later an editor.
It was not hard news that we were doing. Certain places I worked took shortcuts and liberties with stories. I knew that what was going on was not always at the level of, say, The Newsroom. But I still believed that what we were producing was something of value.
After becoming a stay-at-home mom, I no longer had an outlet for creative expression. I was no longer reaching out to others and maybe even impacting them with something I wrote or edited. I missed it.
I didn’t start blogging until my son was a year old. I admit that I looked down on it a bit – it seemed like everyone had a blog, that there was no special talent or skill necessarily required. “Mommy bloggers” were everywhere, and the butt of jokes. Did I really want to take part in all that?
The answer, eventually, was yes. Freelancing is hard – trying to make contacts, get gigs, write on-spec pieces that no one might ever read. And even though I’ve been somewhat successful at it, I missed just writing without the hustle. And not just writing in a journal – writing so that others might see it and learn from it and share it. So that it would touch others. That’s what writers d0 (or at least try to do). So I started a blog.
I have something to say, and yes, that something is personal and based on my own experiences. But that doesn’t mean it’s not valid or worthy of being published and read. I’m not writing because I want to be famous or because I think my kid is super-cute or because I want to be the star of my own reality show. I write because, as I stated in my first post, I think we, as moms, need to tell the truth about motherhood. We are not just silly “mommy bloggers” to be mocked for recording their child’s every dirty diaper. The reality of being a mom, and becoming a mom, is too easily dismissed. We need to talk about it. I need to talk about it. That’s why I write.
Fellow mommy bloggers, why do you write?