Monday, March 28, 2005

Blogging? Who has time?

One reason that I was reluctant to blog in the first place was that I didn't think I'd have time for it. Now, as I go from daily chronicles to doing something bi- or tri-weekly at best, I can see the problem up close.

It's not that I don't have any ideas I'd like to set down here. It's actually the opposite- I have about a dozen sitting in my Drafts folder, waiting for me to say something.

I warn other potential bloggers that I'm a bad example to follow- usually blog entries are a few sentences and a link that you can toss off in minutes. For some reason, my brain clogs with ideas and then I write out the equivalent of articles here and even though I do these things off the cuff, that still takes time and thought- as a rule, I never publish something just after I've written it. I like to instead let it sit for a night and then look it over again to see if I'm really happy with what I said. Maybe that goes against the whole ethic of the spontaneous, uncensored writing that blogging is supposed to be about but it's still personalized writing that goes up online for everyone to see.

One difficulty that I find is that as soon as I get an idea, if I don't immediately try to turn that into an article, the time window on it quickly passes and no one would be interested in publishing it. Basically, if you realistically want to write an article for publication, you have to be set on it and ready to do it and finish it weeks (or sometimes months) beforehand. It's a constant race and you can get winded pretty quickly doing that. Hesitating for a few hours (or even minutes) might mean that the opportunity has passed already. Blogging helps to solve that problem because you then can let your thoughts flow at their own pace. Unfortunately, you then face the opposite problem- with no discernible deadline hanging over your head, you have to push yourself to finish writing.

Another blogging strength and weakness I find is the whole spontaneous nature of it. Originally, everything that you're reading here right now was supposed to be a few sentences to prelude a follow-up to the politics vs. art thread I started last month. As I kept thinking about this and typing this out, I obviously had a lot more to say than I thought so here you have it. As you see, this kind of thing can also sidetrack your work, not just in terms of writing other blog entries but also thinking "is this something I just want to put in my blog or can I turn this into a real article?" For that last point, I don't see any reason that one can lead to the other- certainly many writers have used their blogs to expand on or post edited info from published articles so why can't a blog entry also turn into an expanded article later on?

Maybe I'm a little self-conscious but I'd like to be happy and proud of what flies off my fingers, onto my keyboard and then onto this site. Even worse, you can see how circular this can become- I'm actually writing out a blog about how I don't have time to write this in the first place! Very sad indeed...

Not to worry though- I plan on posting another entry here today. And I swear that it won't be about blogging.


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