5.12.2008

why i blog

With deepest apologies to George Orwell, one of my great writing heroes.

Why I Blog

  • I find it an extremely valuable writing discipline. Blogging helps me write every day. Writing every day primes the pump for my life as a writer.

  • It is very useful to write for an audience. Instead of writing in a notebook and ending up with a bunch of half-formed ideas, knowing that someone is reading helps me write more clearly, which means it helps me think more clearly.

  • On the other hand, it is very difficult and time-consuming to get columns or essays published. My work was published before I started blogging, and continues to be. But writing without the need to attract an editor frees me from having to construct a complete, publishable essay tailored to a specific audience.

    Thus, somewhere between the personal notebook of vague ideas and the slaved-over, multi-drafted essay for possible publication, lives my blog post.

  • For self-expression. I have a need to write. I have had this need all my life.

  • To share information I find interesting, noteworthy or valuable.

  • For community. We've met most of our friends in Canada through this blog. Other people have met each other (independent of me) through wmtc.

  • To help people interested in emigrating to Canada. People email me for information all the time. I can't always answer their questions, but I can try to point them in the right direction, and I can at least offer support. Many Canadians were incredibly helpful and supportive to me and Allan in our journey. I try to do the same for others.

  • To learn. I ask questions, I put forth ideas, people of similar viewpoints offer more information and direct me to other sources.

  • To have a record of my experience, first as an emigrant, then as an immigrant, and one day as a Canadian citizen.

    Not Why I Blog

  • To gather a spectrum of viewpoints on a particular topic. Because I don't tolerate all viewpoints and opinions on wmtc, I am frequently criticized for being close-minded. The truth is I see a lot of different viewpoints. I just don't want them on my own blog. It would ruin the experience for me. A new friend of wmtc recently described my blog as a "safe space"; for me that affirmed I was doing the right thing.

  • To debate. I dislike debate for its own sake. I find it tiresome and tiring, a misuse of my limited time and energy. My preferred method of learning is to read and consider. I will read and consider anyone's opinion, but I won't be baited into an argument. When I forget that, I am always sorry.

    There are hundreds of thousands of blogs and message boards on which people can debate any topic under the sun. Readers seeking that type of experience would do well to avoid wmtc.

  • To bait others into an argument. See above.

  • So that other people can use my blog as a soapbox. And lest any friend of wmtc be paranoid, I welcome long comments from wmtc readers and discussions among readers. I'm referring to people who don't read my blog but think it might be a good place to direct other people to their own blogs, or to spout their opinions on any unrelated topic.

  • For money. I love being paid for my writing, and if blogging helps me land a paying assignment, that's beautiful. But the blog itself has to stay noncommercial in order for it to remain completely independent, and to retain its value to me.

  • Because I have nothing better to do.

    * * * *

    I don't want to turn this into a meme, but if anyone reading this would like to write about why they blog, I'd be happy to read (and post) the link.
  • 6 comments:

    tornwordo said...

    You've articulated perfectly what I feel about blogging. I love the freedom of it, but also the daily chance to write.

    L-girl said...

    Thank you! You did, too, and more succinctly.

    neutron said...

    The notion of specialization (among other things) has inarguably laid the foundation to modern society. Having said that, it gets to the point where others only expect (and want) to hear your input on your field of expertise, which in turn makes the individual want to specialize even further. Blogging is part of my de-specialization process - a chance for me to become a little more balanced. Am I making any sense??

    L-girl said...

    You are totally making sense, Neutron.

    Resisting specialization has held back my writing career to an extent. When a topic or field becomes a specialty for me, when I become a minor "expert" (using the term loosely) on a subject, it soon doesn't feel challenging or interesting enough to me and I want to move on to another topic. This has been a pattern for me.

    As a consequence, I find myself moving laterally, not increasing my byline recognition. But keeping my writing interesting for me is more important.

    My blog is part of that for me, too. So I totally understand!

    Thanks for your input.

    Phronk said...

    Well said! I love the idea of blogging as being somewhere between a personal notebook and a published essay. That's something that didn't exist, and couldn't have existed, 20 years ago. It's so great that the internet has given us this new way to express ourselves.

    Lee said...

    Something that is just for me.