The Itch

Growing up, writing non-fiction was not something that I enjoyed. Mostly it was because the non-fiction pieces were things I had to write — essays, book reports, and, later, term papers. I always felt like I had to make my writing formal and even somewhat stiff to meet the expectations of my teachers.

In college, I discovered online fiction-writing groups, a few of which I was actively involved with for several years. But the non-fiction I had to write in college was still the same essays, book reports, and term papers — and it only became worse when I became an English major (long story). In fact, the concept of creative non-fiction never occurred to me.

But a few years later, the concept of personal online journals became a thing. The early journals I read — by fiction writers I knew through the aforementioned groups — were simple, hand-coded HTML pages. Journals fairly quickly evolved into blogs, though, and the process of publishing new posts was automated by software such as Blogger and Movable Type, both of which I used to power my early attempts at blogging.

Over time, social media took over and many (if not most) people I know online moved to Facebook, Twitter, and other sites — myself included. Being able to keep in touch with friends (and, later, family) without having to worry about maintaining blog software, deciding on a design, or explaining how to get to my blog seemed like a good trade.

Of course, social media has proven to be problematic in many other ways, most of which I won’t address here. I will, however, say that after watching social media evolve over the past few decades to dominate Internet culture and society at large, the thought of having my own space again has become attractive. More importantly, the urge to write things that are more than just status updates has been getting stronger.

I don’t think it’d hurt to scratch that itch.