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.

Until yesterday.

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.

I did.

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.

Cheers,

~BjW

JK Rowling saved a writer

Well I have to say I have no idea what I am doing, other than, well writing (and blogging I guess). I started this blog and a few others for some ungodly reason (well I have them but meh…) and haven’t done much with any of them. I’ve had some nagging thoughts, which are fast becoming headaches since I’ve ignored them all to long, about my blogs.

So here’s the scoop: This page is dedicated to blogging. Sound ridiculous? Yeah well, to me too, but bear with me. I created this blog as a play on letters of my name. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to blog or write or journal under my byline name, plus I was trying to be clever (not always a good idea) but either way my thought was to have a site where I blogged, reported newsy/newsworthy stuff (journalist) and wrote (not sure the difference really – maybe my fiction and tragic poetry, who knows.

Either way, I’ve been stumped and stopped about this whole thing that I almost got writer’s block. Then worse, I stopped calling myself a writer and then the world got black. My enthusiasm for my freelance writing at Green Living AZ dulled. My green thinking turned to green envy at my friend, Becca, who is new to blogging and is blogging away like nobody’s business on . I poured over “ways to blog” and “don’t make the same mistake I made blogging” sites and e-books.

I felt hopeless, lost. If I’m not a writer then what or who am I?

But then my husband (and biggest supporter) handed me an article on JK Rowling and the last series in the “Harry Potter  books. I’m no JK Rowling, not by a LOOOONGGGG shot, but a girl can dream right? A writer can aspire to be like her, right? Especially when Rowling has such an underdog’s story, was born the same year I was and, well, used her initials to create a new identity to sell books. I could be like her right? At least until I read the last paragraph, the closer, the clincher of the article:

Ever since she finished “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” in 2007, Ms. Rowling has given tantalising hints of future ventures. Now Pottermore, a website that goes live on July 31, has been announced as the sole source for electronic downloads of the Harry Potter books, as well as any prospective future texts. Still only 45, Rowling seems ready to step up her game. From Dickens, with his 20 novels, she must know that what a writer does is write.

“…she must know that what a writer does is write.” 

This phrase scared the shit out of me. I wasn’t doing that, not much at all. In fact I was feeling no “what a writer does is write” kind of thing. I started feeling really dark, really lost. But I also thought a lot about that phrase, about her and her being rejected 12 times by London publishers, according to the Walls Street article.  I even thought of the article’s writer, Norman Lebrect, whose talented and well choosen words hit home on such an important day for me.

I also thought about my newly blogging friend and her beautiful writing exposing her scars for all to read. She’s brave. She’s capable of writing her thoughts and experiences in a humorous and thoughtful way. She, my friend Becca, inspires me in her blog, Team Hope Chest to get up and write and to quite whining about not doing it right or whatever I may be thinking. Her posts inspire me to “just do.”

I also thought about my husband Paul and his faith in me and what I do. Sheesh even he has a blog, albiet, waaaay off the kind of stuff I read, but he just writes what he needs to and moves on.

And then I thought, who cares what I have to say, who cares if I “do it wrong” ? I don’t, not anymore. I’m not even afraid of the Big Bad Big Brother Eagle Eye in cyberspace clocked wolf’s clothing reading my shit. In fact if no one ever reads it I am okay with that too. And I mean that in the nicest way possible, really, because I have something to say, a lot really, and I’m tired of letting all my thoughts go to waste. Because I’m a writer and that’s what writers do, we write.