I am writing this newsletter because of a weird moment of serendipity that happened as I was thinking about why I don’t ever write things for this newsletter. I’d been thinking about newsletters and blogging for awhile, actually, and why I’m so bad at keeping up with things like that. Because I am. (This newsletter being case-in-point.) I’ve had various blogs on various platforms since about 2005, but almost never kept them updated regularly for more than a couple months at a time.
It’s not that I have nothing to say. Pretty frequently a thought will flit through my mind and I’ll plan out a whole bunch of stuff to say about it, but I almost never actually write it down. And that’s not because I don’t have the time or energy to write–as you may recall, I’m a novelist. I write a lot. I jot down plenty of story ideas as they occur to me. I have google docs I can view from any freaking device where I stash story ideas and develop them as more thoughts hit me. And I have another document for ideas that occur for stories I’ve already begun writing, developed enough to move them out of my master document and into WIP status. Those are stray thoughts that happen while I’m not writing that could change an entire story arch, or that suddenly bring a character or conflict into focus. Things that I absolutely do not want to forget, just because I’m in the middle of a meeting at my day job or whatever.
But all those ideas I capture in the moment are fiction. Where the ideas for blog entries, newsletters, twitter threads, and so on, are not. They may be big, serious stuff, like politics and policies I care deeply about, real world events I’m angry about or horrified over. Or they might be smaller, lighter fare–moments in my day that resonate with me, things that send me down wikipedia rabbit holes as I suddenly want to consume all the information I can. Yet no matter how passionate I am, I don’t write them down.
Here’s another thing that’s not the cause of this inability to blog: it’s not imposter syndrome, though that’s getting a little closer to the matter. I have a pretty good sense of my own strengths. Like, I could talk about writing for hours. I could write whole treatises on plot and story structure. I’m a writer and a reader and I know my stuff; I don’t not write about writing because I’m worried that maybe I don’t know as much as I think. (That was a confusing sentence. Sorry.) It’s just that I don’t think there’s any particular reason why my writing about writing would be any more compelling than anyone else’s, when there are roughly a gajillion writing craft blogs out there.
But that’s just writing about writing. I also don’t tend to put out opinion pieces. I will never be someone who provides hot takes. And that comes down to the same thing: my thoughtful, educated, eloquent opinions are no more thoughtful, educated, or eloquent than plenty of other people’s… and frankly, I just don’t feel a compelling need to share. I already know what I think, and not only are other people not likely to change my mind, but I don’t enjoy other people digging in to my thoughts and feelings. I can’t stand devil’s advocates, and I don’t like to debate about things I care about… and why would I write about things I don’t care about?
Writing about my own life, my own point of view on the real world, makes me feel incredibly vulnerable if people do read it, and incredibly lonely if people don’t. I don’t enjoy having my opinions cross-examined, so there’s no point in me sharing reviews of movies or books or TV. (I have been a woman on the internet for a long time. I don’t like getting yelled at. No, it wouldn’t happen every time, but yes, it has happened, and I didn’t enjoy it. So no thanks.) And for the other thoughts that cross my mind, I just can’t imagine that my opinion is particularly unique, so why bother? There’s no winning anywhere in there, so I pretty much just don’t bother to write anything blog-like, even though it has always seemed like something I should enjoy, or at least should do for build-a-fan-base writer-type reasons.
So I was working on accepting that that’s all just not me. And then a couple fo days ago, I ran across an article on a website I’d never been to before, and I enjoyed it, so I looked at what other recent articles there were, and one was “The Best New Year’s Resolutions, Based On Your Meyers-Briggs Type.” While I don’t think MB types are for everyone — I’ve seen them described as Astrology For Business People, which seems about right — I’ve actually learned a lot about myself from descriptions of my type. (Which is INFJ, which could be roughly described as a thoughtful person who lives in her own head but cares a lot about people’s feelings. Our most common career tracks tend to be found in creative pursuits like writing — hey, remember how I’m a novelist? — or as therapists or counselors, which I am not, but a whoooole bunch of people have suggested I should be.)
So as I had all this on my mind about why I don’t ever use my blog, I ran across that article, which suggests for INFJs: “You often hide your talents out of shyness and fear of the spotlight. In 2019, do not hide your power. Step into it. Apply for the promotion. Start publishing those essays you write. Sign up for the poetry slam, or give that talk. It’s okay to feel unsure, but be bold in your passions. The world needs more of your strong, steady voice.“
Look: I’m not going to start blogging because a random website suggested that people with my quasi-scientifically determined personality type should do so, but I do have a lot of things rattling around my head. With fiction, I’m easily able to assume that a story I find interesting enough to write will be interesting for at least some other people to read, so maybe I should start assuming that about other areas of my life, too.
(And hey, I did just manage to write over a thousand words about how maybe I should write more personal stuff.)
So this is not in any way a promise or a commitment to do so, but I am thinking about it, and I’m going to try. And because hey, you volunteered to get my emails at some point, you’re getting this one. And maybe you’ll get another one next month. Probably not, but maybe! We’ll see.
In the mean time! Did you know my sister and I have a podcast? Check it: Rachel and Becky Judge Things. We watch whatever has the internet buzzing this month, from Netflix romcoms to trashy reality TV to superhero shenanigans, and let you know if it lives up to the hype.
(Oh, and if you’re reading this, I assume you’ve probably also already read my books, because I can’t imagine you found me through any other method, but just in case you haven’t, you should probably do that. They’re pretty good.)