|image via Tim Gough for The New York Times|
I've been a blogger for 3.5 years now. As the blogging industry continues to exponentially grow I've been reflecting on its evolution, direction, and where I fit in to the community. Both Christopher Wiegand's documentary, The American Blogger, and Lauren Kelp's piece, The Aesthete and Social Media have been helpful catalysts in this contemplation. But the most enlightening pot of gold I came across was an ancient interview with Brian Awitan which talks about what he calls the "curation culture" that's running rampant in our beloved blogosphere.
Brian's point is that we as bloggers and social media connoisseurs are not making anything anymore because making something is work. Making something (art, music, stories, meaningful photography, etc.) requires talent, a point of view, and above all, discipline. "Curation", on the other hand, is simply sharing what others have already made though new age tools -Blogs, pinterest, Tmblrs, etc. (I acknowledge the counter to that statement is there is an element of artistry in curation; the originality of the curation and graphic design abilities for example. I buy into that argument to a certain extent.)
My take on blogging has always been that a blog is not the end game but rather the vehicle to get you to your end game. So if you wanted to be a famous makeup artist, for example, you should start a blog (not to make bank - that's now a pipedream) but to give you credibility and exposure to gain opportunities as a makeup artist. And those respective opportunities will hopefully be lucrative.
I find myself, however, in purgatory right now - still in my vehicle even though it's taken me where I wanted to go, which for me, has always been to be a prolific author and a contributor to various publications. Currently, I feel like I have a firmly planted heel in both worlds. My blog has given me the creditability, opportunity, and most importantly, the confidence, to attempt being a career author. I'm currently trying to sell my 2nd book and adapt my first book into a screenplay.
But where does that leave my blog? I can't give 100% to both. (As Lisa Yoder articulately reminds us, we don't have as many hours in the day as Beyoncé.) I now have a harder time justifying how a post about wanting to bed Harry Connick Jr. will help me achieve my end goal of getting Allison Williams to play me in 99 Problems but A Baby Ain't One - THE MOVIE!. (And more importantly, Jonah Hill as my husband.) Sure, I genuinely enjoy writing blog post about rolling potpourri joints at my mom's house and curating Solange's "sometimes a bitch snaps" look. Especially because blogging, as opposed to working on books or a screenplay, is instantly gratifying. It's quicker, it's easier, it's more lucrative (in the short run) and above all, it's a safer. You can't fail at it.
But I don't want to be safe. And I definitely don't want to be called a curator when, if I put my head down and do the work, I can be fall on the maker side of things. Because even if my writing is shit, it's still something I made. I'd rather fail as a maker that succeed as a curator.
My blog isn't going anywhere. It's still my platform to share projects I'm working on like the aforementioned 2nd book and screenplay. It's still my place to write about my family and even share the occasional curation.But I also feel like my blog car (Range Rover - Olsen Twins style) has, indeed, taken me to my end game and final destination and it's time to get out. I'm also grateful for the timing because although I'm still passionate about blogging as ever its an industry that's becoming more saturated and curated everyday which makes me concerned for its future.