Saturday, February 23, 2013

Blogging about Blogging

It's not strange you know, to blog about blogging. It's perfectly natural. It is so natural in fact that there are entire blogs, websites, and businesses dedicated to blogging and how to do it right. For me, I don't think they've ever been much help, but that doesn’t mean I'm not going to talk about it too.

The reason I AM talking about it is because it is an important part of my life. In addition, some of the articles on my blogs are important to some of my friends. Maybe they're flattering me, but they'd be REALLY overdoing it if they were. Don't worry, this is probably the last time I'd be blowing my own horn in this blog post, but no promises.

I wrote a paper on digital content in Egypt for a course during my masters degree, the one I never completed, back in 2009, way before activism was so well known in the mainstream. A nice chunk of that paper was about blogging, especially the Egyptian blogosphere, you can read it here, or you can skip to the next part if you like, dear reader.

On a more personal tone, when I started blogging, I thought I’d be a famous blogger, because I was a good writer after all, wasn’t i? That is not the case, thank God! Most famous bloggers are either activists or people who make a business out of it. I’m neither. I just write because I like to write, post because I like getting praised, and really hate it when a blog goes unnoticed or if I get a bad review, and occasionally find a friend sharing a blog post of mine with his friends through a third friend who doesn’t even know me and they don’t even know I’m the author. It actually happened twice, TWICE! Finally, I guess the purpose of me blogging is maybe somewhere words can help, which is something I believe in since I practically live inside the books I read. I write about my friends and make them teary eyed and speechless. I write about my quite insignificant life and my totally quirky views on it, as if my opinion is the only one that matters in the world. Guess what, on my blog, it really is the only opinion that matters in the world.

Even though I’m mostly active on one blog, this one, The Blue Column (I like to pretend I’m a columnist in a hotshot newspaper or magazine), I got two more blogs. My first was a blog about testing. I started it because I used to get into so many debates with my boss and I thought if I share my thoughts on testing and pass them on to the world, it won’t really matter if we have long debates, I still would have said what I wanted to say to the world. I wrote a couple of posts and they were successful, I got good feedback and it had one of the posts that I caught a friend sharing it with another friend of his without them knowing it was mine. Then, I lost interest in testing altogether or at least in writing about it. I guess I wasn’t having as many healthy debates about testing that would inspire me enough to keep doing it.

The second was a quasi-religious blog where I decided to document a bit of my spiritual thoughts. It is easier to be religious when you write about how you feel, again, for me at least. I kept thinking that maybe someone somewhere out there was going through feelings similar to what I was going through on the spiritual level and would benefit from reading my own experience. It isn’t informative, not really, and I got a lot of negative comments about it; one was “bateekhy” which typically means that it was absurd and made up; plain nonsense. But I also got positive feedback which kept me going for a while, but it was very difficult to write about religion, because it’s so sacred and so beautiful and I really am not a scholar, and I didn’t want to feel like a fake. So even though I haven’t abandoned it altogether, I write there scarcely.

The blue column was the last blog I created, it was the hardest to initiate because it is basically me; total exposure. But I am loyal to it because it gives me peace. Sometimes I write for the sake of posting anything, I can go a whole month without posting, and sometimes I post up to seven posts a month. I think the best moment of my blog life was when one of my friends called me up and told me, “Why haven’t you written anything lately? I really need to read your stuff because it makes me feel good.” My good happy blogging days are probably behind me (I was going through a hippie phase that didn’t really last long) but I do write from the heart, even if I am writing about boring old software testing, and if just one piece of writing touched someone, I am content in making a tiny microscopic dent in the universe after all.

So aside from the praise, do you want to hear why it really matters that I blog? On Saturday, September 1st, 2012, I posted my first short story in a long long time: Of Lady Moon and Master Sea. It was a compiled version of 4 tiny chapters that I posted on facebook earlier that week and got great feedback on. A little while before that, a friend of mine told me I wasn’t an artist, and I am not ashamed to say “IN YOUR FACE!” On Sunday, November 4th, 2012, I posted my second short story’ Pygmalion’s Statue. Inspired by a very close friend and even posted on a writing forum with not so bad feedback. On Friday, November 9th, 2012, I wrote one of my strongest pieces: 8 portraits of Longing. Not the easiest to write or post, but definitely the bravest. The point is; blogging has helped this scared little girl open up a few doors and face herself. Doors she has believed to have long been locked and forgotten in the back of her head, and maybe remembered that she had talent after all. Writing this post, right here, right now, as reminded that scared little girl of what really matters, and that is, no matter who says what, and no matter what she faces in her real life, she will always have a life here that is completely hers, and that is not controlled by anyone else.

I am giving out a big thank you to all of you who are reading this now, to all of you who have ever read any of my stuff, and to every single one who gave me good or bad feedback (at least you cared enough to give feedback and if it was bad, it got my stubborn side to kick me in the tushy and prove to them that I am better than what they perceive, and that maybe they need to look a little closer before they judge).

I am braver because of you.

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