You know you’ve been in the writing and editing field too long when you start a blog—and immediately develop a style guide. Not that I knew what I was doing. Rather, I began this blog by working on the first twenty or so posts simultaneously before I posted any of them because that allowed me to a) ensure a high quality start through revision opportunities, b) delay announcing my blog to friends and family until I’d written enough material to be entertaining, and c) decide on some consistent formatting.
The last bit, of course, is basically a style guide. Will I capitalize all my titles or not? How will I tag entries? How much of the blog should be links, photos, allusions, jokes, videos of silly squirrels? Such small questions, if I wrote them up in a “real” style guide, would appear trivial even to me, but I took them seriously and researched the answers by cribbing from my favorite blogs.
I can’t help but feel a little like an immediate failure though, as such planning seems antithetical to the blogosphere code. What with narcissism being the heart of a personal blog (well, narcissism and pictures of kittens), blogs seem more designed to bare raw emotions and let the cards fall. That’s hard for me to consistently do, for various reasons. My second beta reader for the first few entries (yes, I had two beta readers—I have a problem) even felt that my first drafts didn’t sound like me; my writing was too hesitant, she said.
Perhaps the problem is in the stars. My astrology chart, so my wife tells me, is all air signs. “I think, therefore I think some more” could be my astrological apothegm. So while I perhaps am apologizing for caring about the style too much, for wanting it all too be patterned just so—well, I’m not sure I could have done it any other way.