Tuesday, April 21, 2009

In which I refrain from hijacking Abby's comments

Last week, Little Bird and I had a wonderful morning at Marbles in downtown Raleigh. We spent most of our time chasing our toddlers through the area that used to be Playspace with a fire engine, a store, train tables, and all sorts of things for pretend play. Before heading our separate ways, we popped over to Roly Poly and grabbed some lunch with the boys.

What do bloggers talk about at lunch? Why, blogging, of course. Abby asked me if I thought quality or quantity was more important on a blog. She has already written about this, and the comments that the post received prompted me to want to weigh in a little further because I read them and just slapped my forehead and said, "Well, duh."

My plain and simple answer was "quantity." This answer, given while feeding a child with no bib and an overdue need for a nap a peanut butter and jelly wrap, obviously needed a little more explanation.

In context, I was telling Abby that I felt quantity was important. When Abby writes a grocery list, it is good writing, so there is a level of quality that is already assumed. There are so many different styles of bloggers out there, and I thought we were mainly talking about blogs with a certain level of quality already there and not craptacular ones written in the voice of a two year old or holding a giveaway every other day.

In that context, when I think of quality, I think of those posts that stand out on Chicken and Cheese or Motherhood Uncensored that come along and take my breath away. While those writers find the time to post something almost every weekday, some days it is a short post with a picture and a punchline. Or some days it is one paragraph with a recent observation. While I'm not saying the shorter posts aren't quality, I was considering them not to be something that was left in draft for days while the author crafted sentence structure and carefully chose just the right words to insure that their thoughts would leave a lasting impression on their readers.

A subtle difference between craft and creation.

I guess I considered it a given that Abby and I would both be reading blogs with general subject/verb agreement, correct spelling, and posts that frequently envoke a deep thought or a deep feeling. I think we were, but I'm not sure when the question "quality or quantity" is asked to a general population of bloggers that the same thing is assumed.

I know there are bloggers out there who hate the term "mommyblogger." It's just a label though, and you can't control what other people call you. What I think they hate more than the word is the association with such a vast diversity of bloggers. There are mommybloggers who are fantastic writers, and write about life, not just motherhood. There are mommybloggers who blog mainly for family and friends, and it really doesn't matter how thought provoking they are as long as there are plenty of pictures of little LuLu in her Easter dress. There are mommybloggers who blog through their photography or their crafting. There are mommybloggers who don't know who they are and seem to change to fit the current trend every few months. There are mommybloggers who just want a free bottle of shampoo and something to give away to their "readers," who are really just people stopping by to win something.

There is also the problem of quality being subjective. I know good writing, and honestly, that's not always what I'm looking for in a blog. Most of the time, I'm looking for a connection too. Are you a blogger who has a homonym problem? Fine. I can overlook that because something else has made me interested in you and your family. Do you occasionly use your space to pimp out a product? Alright then. Because I already read you and care about your life, I don't mind the diversion.

That being said, I don't read terrible writing or dishonest writing. I don't read blogs whose authors aren't genuine or who have proven to be frighteningly crazy. Political conspriacy posts popping up in a normally well written blog? Might just be enough to convince me to remove that blog from my reader. Giveaways or sponsored posts making up the majority of your content? I'm likely to not stay interested.

But for me, blogging is about connections. And like the friend who always waits for you to call them, some bloggers just don't post enough for me to feel like I'm still invested in their lives. If their blog is the only connection I have with them (no emails, no Twitter, no Facebook), then surely it's understandable that I won't stay invested if they only post once or twice a month. I think Abby's first commenter, who also happens to be her very smart husband, put it in better terms when he suggested that quantity didn't have to refer to the frequency, but rather that regularity in which posting occurs. I can agree with that.

Obviously, this is something I've been thinking about a lot lately and not just over lunch with a friend. I've been thinking about it because using my blog to talk about what Little Bird and I did yesterday? Not why I started it. See, I wasn't even married when I started this blog. I wasn't a mommy. I wasn't a mommyblogger. This has always been a space to talk about my feelings and my life, and now? It's a mommyblog. I haven't been sure what to do about that.

I think I know now though. I keep writing. I keep writing as me, and because the people that read my words have connections with me? Then yes. I should write about what Little Bird and I did yesterday if I want to. Even if it was just snuggle and play. Because there is a base level of quality to my writing simply because I have a good English background and was never without a book in front of my face for the first 18 years of my life. However, I like incomplete sentences and I don't worry too much about ending a sentence with a preposition. But that's not the point. I'm not trying to win any writing awards here. I'm not trying to get a book deal.

I'm sharing and working things out in my words. And sharing requires some amount of "quantity." It's part of a working relationship, and part of my view of blogging.

What about you?