So I'm noticing among some of my northern blogging brethren the lament that they have nothing to write about or are finding it hard to keep up with the updates now that they're here. When you are in the process of moving to Nunavut and when you first arrive here, there's no shortage of things to write about. Everything is new, exciting and, in some cases, deeply weird. It's not hard to write because its like picking the low fruit off a tree (as it were, as there are no trees here, but you get the point). Dead simple. Fire up the computer, open blogger and away you go.
But after a couple of months, it becomes "well, now what?" You've settled in. You might be in a small community and there's not much happening. Also, one of the potential things of concern when in a small community is the worry about talking too much about the place, especially in a negative light. Because people there might read your blog and you don't want to get a reputation as someone who complains a lot.
I understand, trust me. Blogging is not an easy thing to keep doing. Most blogs under the best of circumstances die a few months after starting anyway. The internet is littered with their corpses.
The thing is, writing about your northern experiences is just phase one of your blog. There are two ways of looking at this - do you have a northern blog, or do you have a blog located in the north? If this was just a northern blog, it would have died nearly four years ago after I ran out of cute observations about my new home.
But I can't do a one track blog. So, fortunately, I have other interests. Sadly for some of you, I love curling and will subject the unwary to it from time to time. I have a deep love of comic books and will occasionally mention that. I follow politics - Canadian, Newfoundland, American - and will write about that. I like movies and TV shows and write about that.
So when you find yourself running out of northern things to talk about every day, starting branching out. You are more than a person living in Nunavut. What else do you like? Write about it. I'm not saying never write about Nunavut again. I am saying that instead of every post being about Nunavut, maybe one in every seven posts is about it. Spread your wings a bit. Write about kids, dogs, knitting, music, whatever it is you want to write about.
Good. Now, that will buy you another six months to a year. And then you're going it hit a wall. It's going to be a big wall and very solid. You're going to open Blogger, stare at the ugly Goddamn white space and despair.
Cathy asks me many evenings what I'm going to blog about. I think once I said, "My obituary because I'm fucking dead. I have nothing."
Not everybody has to be a lunatic like I am try to write every single day. I do it because it's a disciple thing, where I make myself sit down and write every day because it's the only way I'll ever get better as a writer. I want to be a good writer one day (there's no need to write and stroke my ego and say I am one. I am a decent writer and painfully aware of my limits). The only way you do that is to write every day. Even on the days you don't want to. Especially on the days when you don't want to.
It might be crap. You might loathe looking at it, but sometimes that's the price you pay. You write. Even when it's crap, you write. Because the sooner you get the crap out of your system, the sooner you'll find that little nugget of someone good and interesting buried that you can dig out, shine up and post.
So hang in there, my northern brethren. Don't give up and let your blog fade away. It's a great community we have here and it would be a pity to lose even one voice. Tough it out. I promise, it gets better and easier.
1. (Ready or not) Omaha, Nebraska - Bowling for Soup
2. The Mesopotamians - They Might Be Giants
3. The shadowlands - Ryan Adams*
4. Nobody but me - The Pursuit of Happiness
5. Addicted - Hawksley Workman