BJ Walker, the Blogger, Journalist, Writer
Well for anyone who may have been wondering about my blog’s name, there it is, mostly. Professionally, in all my writing I have almost always gone with the name that most everyone knows me by: Barbi Walker, but I’ve been struggling since graduating with what and how to blog. And as I’ve said in a previous post this is a play on words & my initials. Sort of like Arianna Huffington and her Huffington Post.
The idea was given to me by my former professor, Adam Klawonn, who was my editor at “The Zonie Reoprt” where I blogged about Arizona news. At the time blogging and the public journalist were just becoming a force the journalism world had to recognize. When I graduated from J-School there were immense changes in the industry and I never made the transition to blogging on my own about news.
Which brings me to why I am writing this post.
I was in limbo about blogging, journalism and writing without the direction from a seasoned reporter, editor or professor. I felt lost.
Fortunately I found a freelance writing job with “Green Living AZ” magazine, where my patient and helpful editor, Tishin Donkersley, gave me direction and opportunity. I can happily now call myself a journalist.
But I was still confused about my role as a blogger, I felt that I needed to blog as a writer/journalist. I wanted to blog, but I felt I needed to blog about something news related (the journalist is strong in this one). That my blog was supposed to be about something, a common idea, thread, blah, blah, blah. I’ve sat down so many times to write “what this blog is about” and in a few short days stop writing and losing interest.
There are numerous unsuccessful blogs out there and I didn’t want to be one of them! I’m an overachiever and work hard when I have a project or goal. But I wasn’t doing this with my writing and began to give up on all of my craft.
Then came the JK Rowling article. I was inspired. I thought. I blogged. I was happy but still didn’t know where I was going with my blog. Was it going to be an eco-journalist blog? A personal diary of my attempt to unclutter my life? Or maybe where I tracked, brainstormed and edited my novel? I even toyed with the idea of a personal journal of sorts, but happily journalists are taught that our thoughts and opinions aren’t to be included in our stories. Plus I honestly didn’t want to blog about my experiences, I get bored just listening to myself (as I am sure readers would too!). So I was still in limbo.
As I ran around doing my errands I thought about how I don’t journal or write much because I hadn’t found a system that worked for me. I love my weathered journal for notes and thoughts etc., but I didn’t like sitting down to “write” in it. I like technology, let me rephrase, I LOVE technology! I like writing on a computer ~ it feels like I am a writer when I sit down and write on it.
Now you may be thinking, well ding-dong, just write in a Word Doc. I’ve done that – but I find the excitement and accountability of “publishing” something I’ve written magnified thinking others can read it. I have so many thoughts and story ideas that I want to work on but they get lost since I don’t put them somewhere.
So I thought, why not just use my blog for THAT? Umm, well… sheesh, I don’t know. Let me think about that some more.
Then I got a text from my long time, dear friend, Elizabeth, asking if I had a minute to talk. She was on break from her intensive yogi training. I promptly called her.
She is more sister than friend, she has inspired me numerous times, counseled me and challenged me to question things. I respect her immensely.
We talked. I told her what I was ruminating about. She said the blogs and stories she loves most are the ones where the writer is fully engaged in telling the story. The stories the writer is passionate about. I told her what I really wanted to do with my blog: Blog about stuff I like or find interesting, Journal about my thoughts, insights or ruminations and Write my novel and short stories. To use it as a central holding pen for all of the above. I told her I didn’t do that because I was worried of what I should be doing with my blog.
She said three things that resonated with me :).
“You need a place to hone your craft.” This is true, I need a place to practice my writing (writers need to write every day), to strengthen my writing and blogging would be a great tool.
“When you find something you are passionate about you will make time to do it.” This is the second truism. I was excited all day to sit down at my computer and to write about our eye-opening conversation, about my love of a certain hair product (I even wanted to take pics!), my thoughts and research for upcoming travel – I was giddy and bubbly with itchy typing fingers!
But what stuck with me the most was this:
“Barbi, I’ve always thought of you as fearless and when you want to do something, you do it regardless if others say you can’t.” That is me IN A NUTSHELL. But I had been so afraid of doing my blog my way because it isn’t “how you are supposed to blog” or be a journalist that I wasn’t doinganything.
When Elizabeth said that, I thought, who cares if my blog isn’t “normal”? It’s a blog, it’s mine and I can do whatever I want with it. And what I really want to do with it is make it a one-stop shopping place for my writing. It’s what I really want to do, it will improve my writing and journalist skills andit’s me.
Thank you Elizabeth. Thank you for being such a solid force in my life, I love you.
And to you dear reader, if you have gotten this far, Thank you! Thank you for your interest and your patience, because if I don’t think about you, my writing, my research, my ideas aren’t doing what I want them to do. This blog may be “my personal” place to think, write and practice, however, I think about you, the reader, as I write.
I welcome your feedback, your thoughts and your insight, because when I write for me, I also write for you.