It’s funny to think that I’ve been blogging for years but, in all that time, I’ve never once sat down and wrote out why I’m doing this. I mean, if you’re here then you can probably guess the first reason: I like to write. I don’t know of a single author that doesn’t. And – surprise, surprise – even I don’t want to scribble down notes about fantastical worlds all the time, so blogging provides a refreshing alternative.
But it’s more than that. Blogging is a very public form of record keeping. If I just wanted to record private thoughts, I’d stick to my diary (which I update very infrequently these days). Instead, I publicly share thoughts, opinions, and stories with family, friends, and strangers.
Well – it’s definitely not because I think I have anything truly special to say. My opinions, even my controversial ones, are far from unique. And I’m far from the most eloquent person on the planet – but I guess that’s part of it.
I was taught that writers had to do two things: read and write. I work very hard to keep up with both of these demands. Blogging serves to satisfy the latter requirement. Novel writing is fun but tiring. Since I write in fantasy, I always have to be careful to keep my worlds straight. The last thing I want to do is defy history or leave a logic gap that doesn’t make sense with my characters.
It’s intense, and it’s a long process. The Dreamcatchers took years from its first scribbles to final publication, and Monsters Among Us and The Night Terrors still have a ways to go before they’re ready to be read. I don’t believe I’m the first author to be occasionally demoralized by the sheer scope of it all.
Writing a blog allows me to keep strengthening my “muscles” while enjoying a rapid success. I spend an hour instead of a year and immediately get the satisfying reward of publicly publishing something.
It’s helps me to feel a sense of accomplishment in that long period between publications. And it lets me feel a little better about myself during those weeks when I don’t make the progress I would like. Blog writing is like doing leg stretches when you’re supposed to be training for a marathon. It’s not the most productive thing I could be doing, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.
Working on Critical Thinking
A lot of the blogs I write are opinion posts, and there’s a reason for this. I have found that writing down an opinion greatly helps me get my thoughts in order. Almost everyone can say whether they liked something or not – it’s an emotional reaction we have. I’ve found, however, that fewer people can articulate their exact reasons. For a lot of people – including some of my friends – something is either “awesome” or “terrible” and that’s about it.
Not that there’s anything wrong with this. Honestly, sometimes I envy it. I doubt they’ve ever woken up at 3 AM and then stayed awake because they couldn’t stop thinking about how bad Alien: Covenant was (such a waste of potential!!). What I do definitely feels obsessive on at least one level.
But it’s helpful. When I watch a movie, read a book, or play a game – I always try to think about the storytelling structure. More than that, I usually try to identify what I liked, what I didn’t like, and what I would do to improve. I’ve found this exercise helpful when it comes to my own writing.
Blog writing is the final reinforcement. It’s like when I went to college – I’d remember the general idea of something if I just listened to the professor but, if I really wanted to memorize specifics, writing it down made it clearer.
I know art is subjective, but I try to write as objectively as possible (most of the time) to improve my critical thinking skills. Time will tell how helpful it is.
Charting Personal Growth
I am human. I will never claim otherwise. This means that I am a flawed individual. I make mistakes, do dumb things, write dumb articles – I’m far from perfect. If I were to list every blog post that I have had second thoughts about, this article would be either a short novella or a long short story.
That said, I find an advantage to recording my thoughts at the time. I feel that some people today have wrong expectations – they demand perfection from themselves and everyone else all the time. I don’t believe this should be our goal as a species. While it’s important to always try to do the right thing, it is just as important (in my view) to be constantly learning.
I have learned so much since I started writing this blog. I hope that I have been growing in a positive way that will make me a more mature, compassionate, and well-rounded individual. I’m not sure – but I’m doing my best. Going forward, I plan to write more explicitly about my growth and about how I’m still dealing with some of the more complex issues in today’s society.
I mean, all this is great but I still haven’t answered my main question: Why a public blog? Why do I put all this out there for the judgment of other people?
It’s who I am. I’m a writer – my job is to entertain and enlighten. Hopefully, at the end of my life, I will be able to look back and say I did both of these things. That or got filthy rich and made a real life Jurassic Park…one of the two.