I have been blogging for two months now, a relative newbie. But I have already learned a great deal.
- Blogging has made me pay more attention to my life. I observe my experiences and my world with more consideration. I am more thoughtful and reflective about my experiences, perhaps as possible posts, but it has resulted in a greater regard for and awareness of how I am living.
- Blogging has pushed me to “finish” my writing. No longer do I start stories and ideas and toss them into piles or stash them inside journals. Now I work to bring closure to these writing pieces even though they still may need work.
- Because I usually post every other day, blogging has created a rhythm, a sense of practice, a creative discipline. There is something enormously satisfying and liberating about consistent practice.
- The categories I have connected to my posts have organized them all for easy access. No longer do I have to search through piles, journals, books, pants pockets, pouch, the back seat of the car, or the trunk for something I have written. Now I simply click on the appropriate category and voila, there it is.
- The comments have added a surprisingly enriching layer to the experience of posting. This was totally unexpected. In the main I have been incredibly touched, informed, and amused by what visitors to my blog have had to share about what has been posted. (Mike Royko’s son, David Royko, responded to my post about his father. How cool is that?!) I see the potential for a virtual community of friends. This has also pushed me to comment more regularly on the blogs of others.
- Blogging has made me grapple with public/ private issues. As a teacher, most of my stories are about the students I work with. Because this is a public blog and not too difficult for someone to find if they were really bent on doing so, I have had to hold back in writing and/or fleshing out the amazing, sometimes poignant, sometimes very funny occurrences which have happened in class in order to preserve trust in the community of our classroom. As a visual artist, I am still figuring out how to post my personal art without it being co-opted and copied without my permission.
- So, I have created a blog folder where I have been collecting ideas, images, and these classroom stories for future posting. I am still dealing with how much time will need to pass before I can publically (and with names changed, etc.) share these experiences about students. One year? 5 years?
- The data created by the blog is fascinating and almost obsessively compelling. WordPress, the host of my blog, on its blog stats page, shows the top posts and pages for the day, the week, the quarter, the year. After Homepage Visits, the post Time to Empty the Cart has been visited the most, followed by Liu Bolin, and Mike Royko’s Birthday. I believe this is counted by the number of people who click to read the comments for these particular posts. There are graphs, information regarding any search engine terms used to get to the site, what links on the site people have clicked, etc.
- The postings can be as eclectic as I am. (see picture of part of my studio at the head of this post.) As an artist, I collect a great many items which I use in the work I create. Blogging is an extended way to express this notion of collection (see Collections). The ability to share photography, story, short videos, poetry, relevant links, etc. has been compelling and engaging.
- The ability to link the ideas on the posts to sites outside the blog has felt intellectually and creatively generous. Linking is also another manifestation of my absorbing attraction to collections.
And so this blogging journey continues…