Okay. Here is the meta post. I have produced 1000 posts since July 2010. One thousand of my ideas have permeated the universe on an almost daily basis. Have I really added anything to the universal pool of knowledge? Probably not. Have I furthered the quest for meaning and significance or have I become more enlightened and helped others to become so as well? Slim chance.
So why do I continue to put these blog posts together? What are the compelling reasons to increasingly clutter the internet with words and images? Shouldn’t quiet meditation, a few phone calls, snail mail to, and dinner with friends and family be enough?
- Blogging has made me pay more attention to my life. The discipline of spending a few quiet moments to reflect on something daily is actually quite invigorating. And allowing myself to skip a day here or there when the thoughts are stymied has been very helpful in putting the events of my life in some perspective. Daily reflection without the forced neurosis of “dailyism” has helped me to think more carefully and meaningfully about my world. Blogging 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. I have begun several drafts that I can pull up and polish when I run short of ideas. Somehow the formality of the blog and its officious look (pictures and layout) has helped to hold those ideas and thoughts in a stylish wrapping, perhaps making them seem much more inviting than the content may turn out to be. These posts are like small shots or hits. Mostly satisfying if not long-lasting.
- Because I usually post every day, blogging has created a rhythm, a sense of practice, a creative discipline. There is something enormously gratifying 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. Though there are not too many people who comment on my blog or even follow it (at present 282 followers), it is validating receiving comments from strangers who are simply responding to what I have written and not because they know me (though it is awesome to hear from friends as well). (I have to admit that it is disappointing, however, that sometimes followers are really just fishing for visits to their own blogs.)
- 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.
- Blogging has helped me to organize. 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 some experiences about students. One year? 5 years?
- The data generated 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 The pain of the five-paragraph essay has been visited the most, followed by Mike Royko’s Birthday, and El Greco and the tension of tangents. 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. 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.
- Blogging has helped me to let go and just write without knowing where it will all end up. I used to feel I needed to have an idea before I began a blog post. Lately I have been able to just start writing and usually, not always, the post takes on a life of its own. This is very satisfying. I have put a limit of one hour (maybe a few minutes more) in the preparation of each post.
Though I’m not sure my blog’s creative clutter does a whole lot more than keep me centered and reflective, this is reason enough to keep at it.
The journey continues.
(Revised and updated from an earlier post in September 2010)