Hi, I’m Dr. V. Veterinarian. Mother. Writer. Amateur chef, aspiring world traveller, insert title here. But don’t call me
Many years ago- more than 10, on a site whose name I don’t even recall, I started an online journal. I wrote about planning a wedding, about my senior year of veterinary school, and about the early heady days of my career. About my dogs, my kids, postpartum depression, fat pants, horrible mentors, all sorts of stuff. I never said I was any good at it, but if nothing else I am persistent, and consistent in my prolificness. Wildly in love with the written word.
Four years ago (has it been that long?) I took the next obvious step and started an official blog, an online place to write about a specific topic. Because I happened to have become a veterinarian, this is what I blogged about. Had I taken a different path you might be reading a dermatologist blog, or a pharmacology blog, or a paleontology blog, because writing is like breathing to me. I can’t help doing it.
And it was great, back then when there were like four people doing it. It was a novelty. I was a freewheeling agent honing my craft and I didn’t care what anyone thought so I recreated exam room scenarios with scantily clad Barbies and made fun of things and was overall wildly inappropriate and it was wonderful. There was no formula. Blogging was the Wild West, and it was fun, and people were intrigued by the concept.
But like all great things, the more popular a format becomes, the more corporate attention it draws, the less fun it becomes. Now people blog as a business, or what they hope will be a business. Some of them are terrible writers- you know it’s true- or corporate shills whose posts are nothing more than a neverending series of coupons and advertisements. The blogosphere is glutted, and I’m not exactly sure what’s rising to the top.
And somewhere along the way in the midst of all of this, the word blogger gained a different meaning. It changed from “person who loves to write on topics about which they are tremendously passionate” to “armchair pseudo-expert with an overinflated sense of their importance but lacking the actual communications skills to succeed in a legitimate writing enterprise.”
I’m not saying I agree with that assessment, but that is now the perception when people hear the word. It’s gotten so bad that when people start to introduce me as a blogger, I cut them off with “freelance writer.” I own a website. I write. I create content. The eight years of college and all that entails evaporates in the face of the word “blogger”; suddenly I’ve become an amateur hour mouth breathing one-fingered typist with too much time on my hands and not enough sense to recognize when I’m being insulted, someone requiring the spoon feeding of content from PR agents in order to have anything new to say because I lack any originality on my own.
I don’t really see myself that way. I reject that description. I also reject the weird little cottage industry blogging has become. I want to be one of those tortured old school writers, marinating in gin, brining in the certainty that the awful truth of the universe is too much to experience all at once so I will create a little pinhole word-camera to present just a little bit of it here and there in tiny prismatic chunks. THAT is what I want to do, not review more dog collars.
And while I’m certain I’m not ever going to reach that level because I lack both the requisite talent and alcoholism, at this point I would accept a simple acknowledgement that I know how to construct thoughts and sentences in an intelligent manner. Because there’s nothing worse than being dismissed with, “Blogger? Oh, that’s cute. Hey, do you know any real journalists who can help me out with something?”*
As you’ve possibly noticed, I’ve cut back from my initial breakneck pace of 5 day a week posting. This is for several reasons:
- I don’t like to repeat myself, and there’s only so many times one can write about core versus non core vaccines.
- Now that my kids are halfway to college (gulp), I have to devote more time to enterprises that result in an actual income. Because if you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ll just tell it to you straight: in the pet world at least, ‘professional blogger’ is an oxymoron.
- I’d rather write here when it seems right to do so, than write for the sake of posting something and put out garbage, or worse yet burn out and walk away entirely.
So there you have it. I’m still here, just evolving in slow-motion. I’ll keep posting about my pets and adventures and things I want to write about, but I’ll be writing because I want to, not out of a sense of obligation to a schedule. The content will be the better for it. Thanks for sticking by me all these years! I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, I promise.
Love, Dr. V, not-a-blogger
*True story from NAVC. I approached a small company because I’ve wanted to write about them for a long time, but after that conversation my enthusiasm for their endeavors dissipated like a randy senior fresh out of Viagra.