As I pulled into the parking lot at work today my almost 3 year old car turned 98,000 miles exactly.
What does that have to do with writing and blogging?
I got to thinking about some of the work-related writing I have done over the years, and this blog as well. Back when I was first a library director, I had not yet begun the habit of writing monthly reports for my Board, but I did have to write for the Annual Report. It was not a difficult task, and only occurred once a year. But then, after almost a decade I changed jobs.
I became the Executive Director of the Southern Connecticut Library Council (SCLC), a multi-type, cooperative library organization with schools, academic, public, and "special" libraries as members. [SCLC no longer exists.] There were two parts to the writing. First was a monthly report to the board. That was not so difficult, and my audience was only a dozen or so. However the monthly newsletter was different. The Director's column was on the front, and we printed multiple copies to send to our 300+ members. It scared me at first. However, I soon got used to it.
It was interesting to find out what people reacted to. During that time I also served a year as the president of the Connecticut Library Association. For the newsletter I had to write a column also, and it had to be different than the SCLC one, since most of the SCLC members were also CLA members. That is where we loop back to the opening of this post about my car. In both of the columns I wrote that year, I included occasional persona snippets including about the car which I was then driving, and turned 100,000 miles. I told stories about driving and the car at the end of some of my columns (in both publications). I was amazed at how many people commented on those remarks.
It occurs to me, that the reason is that so many own a car that they can really identify with the situations I described. (BTW, I did talk about driving in earlier posts (in chronological order): July 2005, and again, June 2008, August 2008, March 2009, and August 2009.
Now, in thinking about the writing thing, it occurs to me that blogging has helped to channel what has become a need to write. It was stirred by my SCLC/CLA experience. What I did not note is that starting with the SCLC job, and continuing through my next two directorships, I instituted a monthly written directors report. In both of those cases, I wrote the initial part, and then compiled from the reports which I requested from each of my "direct reports."
Interestingly, I was recently catching up on links and blogs and found that Andy Woodworth also wrestled with the issue of "why do I write" in a recent post.
Unlike some colleagues, I am not a trained writer. [I am thinking in particular of Karen Schneider who has an MFA in writing.] And I would note that I am not even as talented a writer as Walt Crawford who often downplays his talent in this area. Here is a link to his "writing and blogging" category. In so many ways I am a hacker at this writing thing. I know that I am more unpolished as a blogger than I was as a column writer or even as a library director reporting. In all those cases I had editors and someone to review and make suggestions for editorial revisions. At the same time, for me, and many others, this is a great outlet.