So here I am, still writing on a website (four years today) and making it easy for old acquaintances to Google and quickly realise that I'm still an idiot so there's no need to get back in touch.
Writing on the internet is easy. Compare the life of an internet writer-type to that of an actor. The actor must go to auditions or to Blockbuster in order to check out the competition, feel inadequate and wonder if they should try and be someone else — internet writers just have to look at their blogroll. And they can do it without having to put on makeup or underpants.
Also consider the internet reader versus the movie-goer. Internet readers don't have to pay money and sit through what could be a rubbish film — they can scan the first few lines of a webpage and click away if it stinks.
It's also beautifully easy for everyone to interact. Readers can leave comments or zap emails and their words will wash over the writer, all sweet and warm like a strawberry being lowered into a pot of chocolate fondue. But if you want to communicate with an actor, you have to send a self-addressed envelope to a fan club, and who knows how long it will take for the form letter/head shot to get back to you? It's much harder to give feedback, unless you're really determined like that guy who tried to assassinate Reagan.
Blogging's been a struggle this past year without a job that supports the habit. But the urge to write never wavers; I think in paragraphs while sitting on the bus, lips moving slowly like a psychopath while testing lines of dialogue. This is followed by weeks of mental editing, so by the time I actually write anything down it is no longer relevant, timely or of any interest to anyone at all. When I actually manage to produce something, I feel an enormous, shuddering relief, like an old man on a toilet after a mighty Vindaloo.
I still treat like this blog like an embarrassing secret. I panic when friends discover it. For four years I've been "forgetting" to email mum the address. When I see it on my sister's screen my face burns with shame like a 13-year-old boy caught with a Playboy. Part of me still thinks it's insane that millions of people are all typing words into little boxes and sending them out into ether.
Still, you can't deny the good a blog can bring over the years. They open doors, they inspire and frustrate. They show you how big and small the world is. They lead you to friends you now couldn't be without, even someone to fall in love with. They improve your typing speed.