Blogging as a writer

Yesterday I wrote about re-establishing reflective writing as a daily habit. Today I want to describe why I have decided, at least for now, to do this in a blog.

Blogging is a return to form, a form that I took up more than twenty years ago when we lived in Santa Fe, a bit after I completed my book of concrete poetry. The academic calendar at St. John’s College no longer allowed me to teach with the supportive community of writers every summer in the L&T Program at Bard College. I needed an outlet for my creative non-fiction, so I began to blog.

Buried in computer directories, I can see that I began to write Best Let or Get on November 23, 2002. The first entry was “Thanksgiving speeches” and for a while it was one of the top Google hits for that search term. I continued to blog there until January 2004, by which time we were living in Manhattan. I had at least one regular reader, someone who commented on my posts and at one point asked my advice about college planning for his children.

Blogging a liminal place, a safe place. It’s neither fully public nor private. It’s where I can collect some of my private thoughts, chosen from those I am willing to share publicly.

In the act of writing there is always the burdensome question of audience: for whom are you writing? For me, blogging partly absolves me of that concern, or at least makes the answer to that question less distinct. In this blog I am not obliged to write for others, and yet in the act of publishing I must not be writing only for myself. Still, because this audience is small and I don’t know of any regular visitors, I feel more free. If I felt like these posts counted more, I might tighten up; as it stands, the stakes are not high. The audience is abstract, is abstracted, is subtracted, is sublimed. The only certain audience is my selves, both current and future. When I do look back at what I’ve written, I sometimes surprise myself in the rediscovering of who I was. It’s a kind of journaling, which I used to do by hand when I was younger.

However, writing on the computer makes it easier to edit than in a journal. Blogging stands between entirely spontaneous freewriting and more heavy edited formal writing. Each entry is a kernel of thought, which I could someday combine or grow into a longer work, although they also stand on their own, with their own value even if they don’t get used later. Each post is longer than the scribble of a stray thought, but less extensive than a full essay.

Overall, blogging removes friction. There is immediacy between thinking and writing, between writing and publishing. Boom!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.