Why We Blog

Posted on Oct 28, 2011 in life, writing | 0 comments

In the past hour, I’ve attempted to start three different blog posts. I finally stopped–I could feel the frustration building–and decided to write about that frustration instead. I find it amusing (in an “I hate you” kind of way).

When I write a blog post, I cannot control my mind. I start out on a topic–often a very abstract one, like “What’s the relationship between people, personal space, and possessions?” Then, suddenly, I find that the thoughts I’ve typed out have bred like two rabbits in a hutch, scattering little baby ideas all over the page without any hope of control.

I am a writer on so many levels–I need writing to think–so my behavior shouldn’t surprise me. When I sit down to write, suddenly my mind connects to my fingers, which connect to the computer keys, which make magic happen in the words that scrawl across the virtual page. Then I’m reading my genuine ideas, emotions, and perspectives on life–when two seconds ago, I didn’t know that’s how I felt.

Writing can do that to you. It’s a window to the soul.

On the other hand, that kind of mind-to-page connection means a lot of writing (a.k.a. exploring) before I settle on a final post that is organized and still feels true.


Business vs. Art

In my frustration a moment ago, I sat here whining at myself: “Rachel, what’s your problem? Your ideas don’t scatter in all directions when you write for your corporate clients.” And then I realized the silliness of that question and had to laugh, almost in an “I pity you for being so thick-headed” kind of way.

Of course I don’t write this way for my clients! Corporate writing, although it takes a lot of creativity, is essentially just finding a million ways to piece together similar information. It is designed to capture the weakness in humans–to make arguments against your better judgment so you feel inclined to buy that thing that you don’t need.

Blog writing, on the other hand, is capable of capturing the intricacies and paradoxes of a human mind, a human life, and uplifting people to a new understanding of themselves. To utilize a blog is to capture those intricacies and paradoxes in yourself and others, then simplify them before you send them out into the void (where other people are waiting to connect).

Even though blogging is virtual, which creates distance between people, it is still a type of art, in a way. Like fiction writing, design, painting, or photography, it is unique and emotional and real, because it is based in human story.


Practice Makes Perfect

People are complex and so are their lives. If blogging is a way to capture all of that ambiguity, it’s no wonder I struggle to write a blog post on occasion!

Coming to this realization doesn’t make blogging any easier for me. I can be impatient sometimes, and I tend to edit things nearly to death, so my uncontrollable writing habits often lead to feelings of dread when I think about writing another blog post.

I don’t think blog writing has to be frustrating, though. I’m guessing that like everything, the more I do it, the easier it will get. Likewise, the more I pour my mind out onto pages and explore the depths within, the fewer tangled messes I’ll have to deal with when I sit down to write.


Write the Way You Speak

Verbal communication seems to demand more preemptive organization of the ideas behind our mental floodgates, so why not write my posts as though I were talking to someone I know?

Some of the hardest posts for me to write are stories about our travels–but these are just the kinds of things I tell my family on a (semi-)regular basis. Maybe if I write these stories as though I were on the phone with a family member, my mind will work out the organization of the post beforehand–so instead of flopping gloopily onto the page, it flows out smoothly.

That’s an idea, at least. Maybe it will prove too controlling for those elusive thoughts in my brain, or maybe it will save me time and frustration in the long run.

It’s worth a try.

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