I always presumed that I would be a writer, without actually doing any writing. I think I thought I was going to get a phone call from somebody one day saying they had a vacancy for a novelist. When I realised that this wasn’t going to happen I thought it was about time to do something.
For those who don’t know, in September 2005, I started a blog called Pointless, Incessant Barking, inspired by the above cartoon.
The title turned out to be a good fit. For the most part, PIB was a catalogue of my dating woes, hair woes and fashion woes, plus stories about my dogs. It was what my boyfriend, Al — who’s been around on the internet since the late middle ages–would call an “I-ate-cereal-today blog.” As such, it was of interest primarily to a highly select group of people — to wit, those who already loved me and were used to being patient with my babbling.
Occasionally, though, I’d write something smartish — usually about feminism or fat politics, but sometimes about the other topics you see in the “Categories” sidebar. These were essentially rough drafts of the sort of essays I’d write if someone phoned me up and said, “Hi, we have a vacancy for a columnist who obsesses about the same handful of topics over and over and says ‘fuck’ a lot. Interested?”
These were the kind of posts I loved writing most, and could be writing every day, if I bothered. Also, the kind of posts that — according to my sitemeter — actually seemed to interest strangers. So of course I couldn’t possibly write more of those, or take them more seriously. As Al is fond of saying, “No one wants to do what they’re good at.”
And what I’ve learned over the last year and a half is that I’m a damned good blogger. Writing skill is the least of it — I’ve found I love updating frequently, interacting with commenters, and responding quickly to things I read on the intertubes. Those are the hard parts, for a lot of people, but I seem to be a natural. And yet… Everyone knows I’m a novelist, not a blogger! They must know, because I keep telling them that! And someone’s gonna call about that vacancy any day now, I can feel it.
Two things happened around the same time to change my mind. First, I discovered that kateharding.com is already owned by someone who’s not me, someone who paints horses. So, in a petulant fit of threatened identity, I immediately snapped up kateharding.net, with no plans to use it — I just wanted it to be mine. Second, I acquired a new reader, the lovely Bluemilk, who started dropping by when I happened to be in the midst of a feminist issues streak. When the streak ended, and I posted something dumb — something far more typical of PIB — Bluemilk went, “Huh?” She thought she’d found a new feminist blog, not the dorky personal journal of someone who just happens to be a feminist. And she’d bookmarked it and started coming back, because she actually wanted to read a feminist blog written by me.
So, let’s review:
- I like writing this shit.
- People I’ve never met like reading this shit. (Okay, person.)
- Kateharding.net is currently doing a whole lot of nothing.
Hey, I just had an idea!
All the posts before this one come from the PIB archives — they’re the think pieces (yeah, yeah, I use the term loosely) that were buried among all the “I ate cereal today” posts. From now on, I’ll be writing a lot more of those and posting them here.
I am still working on a novel, by the way. I am always working on a novel. But that’s not what makes me a writer; writing is (that and sitting in Starbucks with my laptop open), and frankly, I do a hell of a lot more blogging than any other kind of writing. So fuck it, I’m owning it. I’m a blogger. I do what I’m good at.
Welcome. Thanks for dropping by.