My narcissism is bipolar

What the hell is blogging, anyway? I mean aside from the obvious cases where people are either talented writers, have something useful to say, are hilarious, or some combination of all three.

What about the other 99.9% of us who brazenly post the written equivalent of our verbal diarrhea on the interweb? What are we doing? What are we thinking?

Jeffrey Parks wrote an excellent post about this, especially relevant to medical, or medicalish, blogs that talk about patient encounters. For a minute he looked like he was going to throw in the towel on his blog. When it was Jeff (who didn’t, and still doesn’t, know me), I was sitting there thinking, “damnit man! You can’t stop writing!” I sent him an email saying “I understand how you’re feeling (and basically, you’d be a major turd if you didn’t feel this way), but you probably shouldn’t stop writing. Your blog is great, people love it, and you’re getting new readers every day. Unless you’re at a point where you’re going to start producing lousy, uninspired content, you should keep writing.”

They guy even wrote me back, thanking me for my “well-honed thoughts.” A truly awesome blogger. But what about the rest of us? What about the people who write about every boring thing they do on a given day as if the whole world were starving for their opinions and melodrama? Should we keep writing? God, why would we?

I started this blog thinking I had something to say that people might enjoy reading. That was arrogant.

I stayed away from this blog for months, thinking I should give up writing because how could I ever have anything to say that would be worth reading? That was insecure.

Insecurity and arrogance are both forms of narcissism. Blog for your ego, avoid blogging for your ego…you’d think you end up at the same place at the end of the day. But you don’t.

For one thing, people read this stuff. Whoever you are reading this, thanks for stopping by! I don’t know who you are, but you show up in my stats panel. And I genuinely appreciate your taking the time to read this drivel, whether you think it’s good or you think it’s crap. If you ever feel inclined to say something, please comment. It makes the blogging experience better for me, you, and other readers.

Secondly, inaction, or some emotional/paralytic avoidance of action, has completely different results than action, even if the motives for both behaviors are essentially the same. I could avoid blogging to preserve my ego, or blog in an attempt to feed my ego. Action takes courage, and cultivating courage is a good thing.

If you’ve thought about blogging, just do it. It doesn’t matter what you write (your best posts according to readers won’t be what you expected anyway). It doesn’t have to be perfect (and it won’t be). All it takes is a little chutzpah. Write for yourself. Develop a healthy indifference to what your potential critics might say. Come to terms with the inevitable: some of your writing will be crap.

Some of it could be good, but you’ll never know if you don’t write anything. The only thing you learn by not writing is that you didn’t have the balls. At least, that’s what I learned. And then I hit blog puberty.


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