Recently I was asked a few questions about blogging by a reader. I thought others might find the Q&A interesting. Here they are:
How long have you been blogging?
Why did you start writing a blog?
To explore myself, my beliefs and my thoughts. As I’ve written there’s another reason that is growing though: I feel I have something to say.
Do you think other people should keep a blog?
I don’t know who should write a blog but I think everyone should find a place where they can explore their thoughts, feelings and beliefs. I think it’s incredibly important that we learn that our story is just that: a story— we can rewrite it if we choose. For me, writing publicly has been one of the best ways I’ve discovered for learning how to think better. So I think those are all good reasons to start a blog: self-discovery, learning to write our own stories and learning how to think.
For you is it just a casual hobby/release or do you treat it as a job?
I consider it work (see previous answer). It’s work I enjoy, but like any work there is Resistance and it requires discipline and persistence to keep at it. It’s hard to face the empty word document every day. It’s worth it—but it’s really hard. And painful. There are a lot of ups and downs. I think it was Hemingway who said there is nothing to writing, all you do is just sit down at the typewriter and bleed. I think he described it pretty well.
Do you think blogs in general are a legitimate form of journalism?
I don’t know what you mean by journalism. I don’t think it is a good way to get objective news about what’s going on in the world. The quality of writing on most blogs is pretty poor —I much rather read books. Because anyone can start one though I do think it is an interesting way to learn about the lives, thoughts and perspectives of more of the people on this planet for those that are interested. And I think that the self-reporting on blogs is valuable at the very least for the writer and maybe sometimes for others. For the few bloggers who are good, they can become an influential curator in their fields of interest for others and this is valuable as there is so much information out there to sift through.
What does the future hold for blogs?
There’s three things that really interest me about blogs:
1) Blogs as a vehicle for self-exploration. It’s a great place for developing my ideas and my life philosophy and sharing it with others. I think the world needs more self-educated, self-aware people that are willing to speak up.
2) Blogs as a personal platform. As a way to connect and build relationships with others, blogs are still pretty good. It gives people like you and me a low cost platform where we can start having a conversation. I think this is threatened by the winner-take-all direction the internet seems to be going in but it still holds true in my experience that anyone that has something to say can say it and others can listen, respond, share or ignore it, if they want. Unfortunately online, as it does in a bath tub, shit tends to float but with some work you can find writing worth reading and people worth listening to.
On your blog you have control of what is said and how you say it. This is not true anywhere else on the web—especially social media platforms whose main priority is to sell your attention and your reader’s attention to the highest bidder, not to share your message.
3) Blogs as curators. There is just too much information out there for anyone to process. I want to find more people I trust to tell me what’s worth paying attention to. I don’t want the world news. I want information that’s relevant to my life. I want the stories that inspire me and stimulate my thinking. I think there is a huge opportunity for more personal, human curators of the internet (as opposed to algorithms or large corporations). Go check out Dave Pell or Maria Popova to see what I’m talking about.
*Photo is from my recent trip to Bae Ceredigion on the west coast of Wales.