On the Sense and Senselessness of Personal Blogging

a cat who looks annoyed

How I feel about blogging.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about priorities and boundaries. I try (with varying success) to stay very cognizant of both because I know my overall well being will be like dish soap on a Slip ‘N Slide if I don’t. In particular, I have to remind myself that it is, in fact, a good thing to prioritize my basic needs over the commitments I feel to others. When my basic needs are being met, I am much better equipped to meet those commitments and maintain them. A hard drive disk will perform poorly if it’s not regularly defragmented; a person’s mind can also only function so long without routine maintenance before it crashes.

About ten years ago I blogged regularly and it was, frankly, good for my mental health to write down at least some of the damn near constant compositions between my ears. I think it helped me define and appreciate my own voice, which my admittedly nihilist tendencies more often than not lead me to profoundly disregard. Blogging—and forgive me if this sounds dramatic—reminds me that I’m not nothing. If I do not specifically carve out time and energy to remind myself otherwise, that is how I see myself. And I do recognize the futility in it.

So, here I am, writing a blog post today before tackling the rest of the items on my admittedly optimistic to-do list, when my first inclination is a strong obligation to jump right into the work that needs to get done. But writing as I am now will make me better equipped to do that work. I will complete it faster and it will be better quality if I just do a little maintenance first.

The obvious question, given what I’ve just laid out, is why did I ever stop blogging in the first place?

I’m very much of two minds about blogging. The benefits are clear to me, and I’m not just talking about mental health benefits. I know blogging helps with my website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and I know that it has benefits for personal and professional networking. I also know blogging can be a tool for helping to facilitate many things, particularly culture shift. However, the format of blogging drives me up a wall; its informal nature feels like publishing a first draft. And I’m definitely not convinced of any inherent value from further diluting the contemporary written record of our culture with yet another verbose, indulgent, ultimately inconsequential voice.

Batgirl on the computer

Batgirl surfs the endless sea of crap that doesn’t matter.

I’ve always been a person who prefers constructive, pointed action to pedantic or reactionary discussion. I tend not to complain. Instead, I quietly look for solutions and do what I can towards implementing those solutions. While occasionally it can be an aid to constructive action, blogging so often just feels like a directionless exercise in wheel spinning to me. So, I stopped.

But now I’m starting again. And I’m probably being overly pensive about it. But that’s usual.

Maybe I’ll be a little less quiet.

Hello, world.

1 Comment

Daniel Beaver

about 9 years ago

You write: "And I’m definitely not convinced of any inherent value from further diluting the contemporary written record of our culture with yet another verbose, indulgent, ultimately inconsequential voice." Oh man, I don't agree at all! Or rather: I agree in the case of microblogging (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). But personal blogs like yours have medium-length content, which is this sweet spot where you have enough space to more fully form your thoughts without having to spend an inordinate amount of time writing. And it does have a relatively large impact on the thought processes of your readers. I can think of a number of your blog posts that have tweaked my perspective permanently (mostly because you lead a very different life from I, and it forces me into a different mindset when I read). I can't say the same for the endless stream of minutia I see on Facebook or Twitter.


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