I know. Sometimes I'm gazing at my pregnancy bump — and sometimes I'm naval-gazing! In case you're still trying to get a handle on what this blog is all about (like I am), here's a handy FAQ.
So who exactly is your audience?
Well, sometimes it's you. And by "you," I mean all of you — the variety of family and friends I have told about this blog, even if I have no idea if you actually read it. You live on both coasts and pretty much every region of the country. I started this blog thinking it would be a good way to keep everyone up to date about my pregnancy and life in general, since a number of you live far away. But sometimes I'm not writing for you as much as I'm writing for me. Those are the days when I just let my head — or heart or gut — spill out, like I'm writing in a journal. How do you know? You might not, though I venture to guess you will. But it doesn't really matter. I write what I want, and you are free to tune in or tune out. That's the beauty of blogging.
Isn't it uncomfortable publishing something so personal you'd normally only write it in your journal?
Trust me, the most private stuff in my life is not likely to make it onto my blog. As for some of the other stuff, I suppose you could say I am trying to be more forthcoming and honest about myself, something I am not always apt to do. It's kind of an experiment, you could say. Besides, many of you live quite a ways from me, and we don't have regular conversations about our lives that friends who see each other all the time do. And even if you live near me, chances are we don't get together so often.
Is it hard to write with a larger audience in mind when so few of the people who know about this blog leave comments? Do you find yourself writing just to the people who comment?
Yes. I continually have to put the non-commenting faces in my head when I'm writing, or else this would turn into a private little chat with the people who do post regular comments. Don't get me wrong, my dear readers-who-comment: I do appreciate your comments and value them highly. Sometimes they assuage my fears that I am writing to a vacuum. But I have to remind myself to operate on the assumption — right or wrong — that more people are reading than I might think. And sometimes my assumption turns out to be correct — I am always surprised (in a good way) when someone mentions one of my blog posts in an e-mail.
Does Steve know you keep a blog?
Yes. And he knows the address. But he doesn't usually read it unless I point something specific out to him. He says he wants to respect my freedom to write whatever's on my mind. I appreciate that, but I don't mind if he reads it, either. Nothing here is secret from him.
How does Steve feel about the fact that you write about him?
Let's put it this way: When I first started writing, I told him what I was doing, and I asked him his comfort level about being part of the blog. He requested that I not write about the really private things in our life together, and that I not use it as a place to vent about him or any conflicts we might have. Those things are between him and me. So I respect that. I can't leave him out altogether because he's such a vital part of my life, and sometimes I might write about issues we're facing at the moment. But deep down, you can see they're my issues, not his.
How about your parents? Do they read this blog?
I have no idea. I did invite them to read it, but I have received no word as to whether they do.
Do you edit yourself based on who you think might read your blog? Whose reactions do you consider the most when you self-edit?
In most cases, I make an effort not to. But there are a few cases where I have. I find myself doing it more lately, now that a couple of people in Steve's immediately family and our circle of mutual friends know about this blog. And my parents. In a few cases, I have edited out sex stuff, and I also don't swear as much on this blog as I am wont to do in the comfort of home. I am still trying to figure out my comfort level here, and to find the courage to write without being too swayed by what other people might think. Always a challenge for me. But a good one.
Is this blog taking energy away from actually connecting with people more personally and individually? Would you e-mail or call your friends more if you weren't putting all your deep thoughts down on your blog?
Yeah, I think it's happened with some people, and that worries me. I'm not sure what to do about it. But let's face it — I'm not always the best correspondent in the world. I am hopelessly behind on some of your lives, and it's my hope that having this blog might inspire you to leave a comment or get in touch with me. I know, I know. It probably sounds one-sided, even selfish, to expect you to come to me if you want to catch up. Why am I not reaching out to you with a more personal letter, phone call or e-mail? But I believe some good comes of this arrangement, too. I can say that there are a few of you with whom I feel happily reconnected — or more connected — because of this blog. I hope that happens more often. Besides, this is not just a communication tool. It's also, for me, a form of expression, a way for me to write stuff that I might not normally just hop onto an e-mail and send to someone out of the blue. This form, for some reason, inspires me to write more. And I like that.