NaBloPoMo: Does Navel Gazing Generate Energy?

Today’s topic is self-generated after reading a little online dialogue about the impact/value/merit of the NaBloPoMo exercise.

The question seems to be – does a writing exercise that may generate somewhat banal content have merit – does the content generated count for anything beyond the original experiential benefit of creating it?

I’m new to this writing exercise approach to life. Back “in the day” I tried to create original content on LGBTQ topics 7 days a week. I’m convinced this took a tremendous toll on my health and well being even though I created some mighty fine content on more than one occasion. And a lot of crap content.

So when I stepped back and wrote much less, I thought “a ha, I’ll be more likely to consistently produce good content if I focus less on on quantity.” That didn’t quite work out so much because I still ended up with a lot of well, crap. Perhaps more. Perhaps because I was growing even more ill.

Huh. Could the quality of my content be related to the quantity, the effort I was investing into gazing at my navel? (Aside – I first wrote “naval” which is sort of punny when you think about the repeal of DADT and the current Pentagon block of websites content I’ve created.) In other words, do I have to accept that a proportion of the content I generate is … useless? wasteful? ridiculous? … to achieve the sort of content that I’m striving to reach?

So the answer might be yes – the energy I invest in the creation of content is in and of itself worthwhile. Those of us who are using CBT techniques are familiar with the mantra “fake it til you make it” (as are folks of other practice) which can apply to everything from taking a shower to showing up for work to actually allowing yourself to have fun. The exercise of controlling my thought process, my writing techniques, my editing and self-censoring skills has real meaning.  Energy doesn’t just dissipate. It isn’t really faking it at all. It is creating something meaningful – ugly, harsh and perhaps ridiculous – but somewhere in all those mixed metaphors is the kernel that the content is the energy. For some, its the rigor of a schedule. For others, its finally sharing the awesome ideas. For some (like me), it is the value of historical records (rereading what I created when I was seriously ill is very useful if cringe worthy.)

There’s a certain fondness for reducing things to bodily functions – like poop – and in a house with age pets, poop is part of daily life. And sometimes I write about it – sometimes because it is funny, sometimes to vent and sometimes because its all I got. And I gots to connect – I have to fake it, to reach out to my social contacts and generate something. I know I’m struggling and they are, too. I know that liking the equivalent of a poop photo reminds us that we are all here – that the synergy we share has value and meaning and importance.

As I’ve said all along, I’m a blogger, not a journalist. I’m not defining myself by a body of work and that’s okay. I took one journalism class in 1991 and the best lesson was “save your content early, save often” because our instructor would turn off the power to the room in the middle of a test – yep!

Consider Beth Kanter’s suggestions that we be SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely – about our objectives with social media.

  • Specific – my objective is to write 1x day on a theme for an entire month. Check.
  • Measurable – self evident, yes? Check.
  • Attainable – I am able to set aside time each day to do this. Check.
  • Relevant – Energy is relevant to me (see various post topics) and the relevancy of a predictabl schedule is quite apt for my recovery so Check (twice)
  • Timely – and there you have it.

hey – I was just offered my first set of media credentials as well as scholarships to two LGBT media conferences, so I guess that means I’m on to something. is that seemly to mention? well, it suggests that some of the poop may really be fertilizer.

And, to be honest, I feel a bit more energized after exploring a real life generate question than a “prompt” from BlogHer. So there’s that benefit of navel gazing … and there’s this form of NavelGazing …

Please note – this is a little tongue-in-cheek (not the video, that’s … well …) but I do appreciate that the FB chat got me to thinking as my girl Laura Ingalls would say. I can openly admit that three months ago, I was rolling my eyes dismissively at the idea of blogging for a month, but I was wrong. It may not be for everyone, but it is worth taking the time to consider if what we create – free-blogging or NaBloPoMogging – has merit. I hope you find that your own approach does.

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