Tuesday, June 15, 2010

On keeping a personal blog

As you know, this blog has basically no point. It is simply the airing of various observations, fascinations, and rants that find their source in the fount of my mind.

That is, I write whatever I feel like writing.

But I do not write every time I feel like doing so… not on this blog, at least. Much of my writing is instead left in my journal, or on scrap paper in notebooks strewn about my room. That’s because I often write to clear my head and to organize my thoughts. Most of my writing is, in fact, private—not for public consumption.

Some think that to write is to be read—that there is no purpose to writing if the words on paper (or screen) are never intended to be read by someone else—but I think those who write will understand an article I found linked off of some blog or other that I frequent (I don’t remember which one right now).

For many of us who love the act of writing—even when we are writing against a deadline with an editor waiting for the copy—there is something monastic about the process, a confrontation with one’s thoughts that has a value apart from the proximity or even perhaps the desirability of any other reader.

Writing is for my own good, in the first place—whatever benefit that other people get, that you get, is great, but secondary.

So why bother keeping a personal blog?

Well, just because writing benefits me primarily doesn’t mean I ought to let it benefit myself only. To do so would be to turn into a navel-gazing writer, full of pride and everything that is the opposite of humility. And that’s not what a Christian is called to become, right? (right!) So, on the occasion I find something of real worth beyond my own sphere of existence—when it’s not limited to circular rants about something insignificant that bothers me, for example—then I figure that as a writer it’s practically my duty to pass anything of worth along. If God gave me the gift of writing, he expects me to use it.

Now granted, this sounds great in theory. In practice, I end up publishing a lot of worthless words that should probably have been relegated to telling stories among friends or in the family, simply because they lack general interest. But that’s what happens when you try to turn theory into practice. It gets a little bumpy.

To return to the article: This part also intrigued me.

There have always of course been posthumous publications. And there have always been controversies as to whether or not publication was in line with the author’s wishes. But the idea that somebody might choose not to publish—or might choose to publish in a small circulation magazine rather than a large circulation one—can look downright bizarre in the age of the blog and the tweet. The space between the writer and the reader is evaporating.

And this, at the same time that the space between real-life friends or business contacts is widening, what with our continual reliance on texting/Facebook to keep up with people, rather than just talking to them face-to-face (or on the phone, if the distance is prohibitive). But that’s another post…. and maybe one that won’t get written.

This line from the opening paragraph will serve as a decent closing quote.

Writers who live for their readers—or for what their editors imagine their readers want—may end up with an impoverished relationship with those readers.

On that note—I promise, no more posts today!

No comments: