Why do I blog?
Back when I was first married, I was an avid LiveJournal-er. I had bunches of friends, very few of whom I knew in the “real world” and wrote every day on what it was like to be a newlywed living in a new country under a pile of ice and snow. I laid my struggles bare, and trumpeted my triumphs to the world, and I loved it. I loved the comments and the feeling of community, the expression of thoughts, ideas, dreams and painful moments as well.
Back when I was a high schooler and college student, I journaled in real books. Cloth covered and leather bound, filled with a multitude of variously coloured pens, occasional drawings and horomone-induced rants and raves, they chronicled mood swings and lost romances to what I was sure would be enthralled archaeologists reading them in the next century.
After our “year of hell” in which my husband and I lost our daughter and our home in different incidents, I started journaling in a “real” book again, though it was an art journal this time. It healed me, in many ways, because I kept track of all the reasons life was still beautiful.
Recently, my husband and I have been talking about why I found it hard to make friends in the past (in Grande Prairie) and why it’s been easier since I’ve been in Strathmore. I think that part of it has to do with being more willing to talk about myself, where in the past I’ve had a very hard time opening up to people. I’m able, however, to open up very easily in writing. So in a way, this is kind of practice for me. Opening up about my writing is new to me. Of course, writing internet content is new to me as well, so why not double the new? I miss journalism, and I miss fiction writing, since I don’t seem to have the time for it that I used to, but it’s easy to blog in the little caught moments during the day. It keeps me in practice, when I’m writing mountains of articles about things I don’t really care about very much, both in writing from the heart and opening my heart.
I think much of what I’ve written has been critical of the companies I write for, but I am grateful for the chance to write for pay again, too. I’m a little nostalgic feeling about Mahalo – I ranted about them a lot, and it’s a little bittersweet that they’re closed down for now. Of course, until they pay me correctly (they still owe me back pay) I’ll probably remain more bitter than sweet. I’m angry that they seem to make policy changes – like on how they pay writers – without notification and you are left to sort out what happened yourself. I’m angry that 75% of the emails I sent to my manager were never replied to, especially when I was having a problem and needed an answer, such as with the pay issue. I’m sad that they can’t seem to get themselves together, because most of the “management” people there seem like genuinely nice folks.
I feel less connected to people at DMS, probably because I don’t participate much in the forums. Yesterday, while trying to remedy that, I came across a post on the forum referencing another site, which is essentially a rant site about DMS. Okay, so I’m familiar with “mean girl” forumnations. Oh too familiar in some ways, but I was genuinely surprised that there was one at DMS, since for me, they’ve been the most positive experience I’ve had writing content (at least so far). I was shocked at the number of people that talk about DMS being a scam or the fact that they are making money off of a writer’s hard work. This is nothing new in the world; everywhere I’ve worked I’ve had folks above me who made more money than I did, often for doing less work than I did, and have taken advantage of my willingness to work for a wage. I don’t think it’s something you can escape from. When I worked for a publishing company in the past, it was the same thing. Yeah, sure, it was “real” journalism, which what I’m doing now isn’t, not in any meaningful way. But the publisher made more money than me. I was asked to cover things (review art openings or plays) more for people who were big advertisers than for people who weren’t, and occasionally I was asked to write articles about specific things that I wouldn’t have chosen as my own topics. That’s the way life is.
I suppose I sound a little Pollyannaish – oh heck, lets go all the way Pollyanna, and play the glad game. I’m glad I have a chance to write for pay. I’m glad I can work from home or from places I travel to with my husband when he’s travelling for work. I’m glad to have money. I’m glad to do something I like. I’m glad that places like DMS exist, and I’m glad I can contribute to them. I don’t think that I’m a “part of the problem” or a bad person or a bad writer for writing for them, though that appears to be the consensus of some people who don’t write for them. Yep, they’re a content farm. Yep, a lot of the content they produce is fluff. Yep, there’s a demand for it. If I’m not filling that demand, someone else will be, why not do my best to create quality in the content that’s out there?