Wednesday, October 27, 2004

raison d'blog

Tim Dunlop at surfdom has asked for comment about people's motives for blogging. I've been thinking about this a lot lately myself. I think all bloggers have some idea what blogging is and many of us have tried to write about it. I don’t there is a definitive answer. It’s too many things at once.
When Tim calls his blog a “vanity site” because it follows his interests and whims, he draws attention to the narcissistic nature of the form. But I’d say that it’s much more than sheer navel-gazing self-absorption (a criticism certain family members have levelled at me many times, believe me).
First of all it's writing karaoke. I never used to show anyone in real life anything I wrote. People used to have to take it on faith that I liked to write. Now at least there's some evidence. It’s a place to practice writing daily and to get feedback. With fiction writing, I am a bit of a perfectionist (or given to self-doubt!), because I still insist on having a finished manuscript to show someone. I can’t bear the idea of reading something while it’s still half-formed. Blogging feels different, because it’s such first-draft writing, a consequence of its emphasis on immediacy. I don’t spend much time composing posts, usually just writing off the top of my head. I’m sure others are the same.
When I started blogging it was to practice different kinds of writing, try out different kinds of writing ‘voice’, show off puns, just for the pleasure of seeing my words ‘in print’. And it has definitely given me confidence, and some sense of what works and what doesn’t. I also think the blogger ‘voice’ is different, as it’s more conversational, more like dialogue than other forms of writing. I enjoy that the form has no ‘rules’ (or few, anyway. I think there’s some informal ones?). It’s all micromoments and fleeting glimpses, perfect for the short attention span.
But it’s obviously more than just writing practice, it’s also an outlet for self-expression. It’s a place to ‘be myself’. To kind of wear my inner monologue on the outside.
I also blog to directly communicate with friends and family overseas, some of whom read my blog just to keep up to date about my life.
Well, I'll have to leave it there for now but I'll come back to the subject, as I'm especially interested in looking at blogging-as-documentary.