About a week ago someone asked me why I blog. I have intended on writing on this subject since last December when I considered the possibility of quitting altogether. As you can tell by this very post I decided to keep going. Blogging has become an important part of the way that I process things. One could even call it a discipline.
I began blogging toward the end of 2004. I briefly quit only to resume in May of 2005. The archives of this blog go that far back. Now that I have been doing this for a half decade I can understand its value. Over the next several days I will explain what I mean.
The foremost reason that I blog is simple. It is good to write things down. Some do this by way of journaling. Every time I have tried to journal I get a couple pages into it before quitting. For whatever reason blogging is a more convenient method.
In Thinking on Paper authors V.A. Howard and J.H. Barton argue that one of the best ways to assist the mind in processing thoughts is to put whatever you are thinking about into writing. The process of writing makes you think deeply about your own thoughts. It is like backing up the data of your mind in case you forget it later. Writing is an act in preserving transitory thoughts.
A lot of bloggers quit because they think a blog post needs to be polished like a term paper. This is not so. In fact, Howard and Barton argue that when writing a paper (or a blog post I will add) it is better to write a disorganized rough draft than it is to try to present a perfect product. Those who try to create a presentable paper on the first attempt are often those who struggle with so-called “writer’s block”. They sit there thinking too much about how to write something rather than actually writing. The goal is to write and edit later.
Blogging can function as a rough draft for hundreds and hundreds of thoughts. The aformentioned authors suggest writing for yourself before you write for the public. Blogs blur this line a bit since what you write for yourself is automatically made public but there is still a principle to be maintained. Blog for yourself first. Blog as a means of taking notes, processing thoughts, and saving new ideas before you forget them.
Blogging does not need to be stylish. In fact, blogging doesn’t even need to be for the sake of being read by others. If this happens, great. If not, so what? If people comment on your blog post giving you feedback this is wondeful because it provides a sort of learning community (a topic which I will soon address) but if you never find this community you cannot go wrong putting your thoughts into written (i.e. typed) words.
So this is the first reason that I blog. I blog because I like to write. I write because I like to process my thoughts on “paper” which is a good way to find out what is being stored in your mind to which you might not otherwise have access. I want to uncover this thought-material in order to see if anything substantial comes from it. If not, at least it wasn’t lost before it could be examined!