A Rookie Blogger’s Reflections on Sullivan’s Article

I remember being surprisingly impressed the first time I read Andrew Sullivan’s “Why I Blog.” I was under the impression that I was going to get very little out of this guy’s egotistical banter regarding why he blogs his other egotisitical banters. However, I took much more away from the piece than I originially expected.

Sullivan’s article does more than explain why he personally feels the need to blog; it offers a history of the practice, predicitons for where its going, and, most importantly, what makes it such a significant form of expression. “It is the spontaneous expression of instant thought,” Sullivan explains, a revolutionary means for a writer “to publish himself and reach—instantly—any reader on Earth.” Having my guard up at first to defend traditional writing, I was quickly persuaded that blogging is in fact a beneficial and worthwhile practice. Although the expression of pure thoughts and feelings, instant publication, and opportunity for others to crtique are all amenities blogging affords, Sullivan understands that blogging is just a different form of writing; each medium has its place.

I knew after completing Sullivan’s work what blogging was: a conversation of personal opinions that are scrutinized but hopefully impactful. I have enjoyed exploring and experimenting with blogging over the past few weeks, and am garnering a deeper understanding and respect for it. The most important message I took away from Sullivan’s work was his comparison of blogging to conventional writing. His analogy of jazz and formal music really stuck with me and motivated me to try my hand at writing. It also reveals the different modes of writing that exist, and seems to imply that a truly good writer, in today’s age, must exhibit proficiency across all genres. This discussion will aid me in repurposing an essay for project two.

I agree with the distinctions Sullivan drew between blogging and other mediums. It allows for a more honest submission, and possibly more concrete and accurate one due to the instant array of scrutiny a piece faces in the blogosphere. I have learned to adapt my style to fit blogging, which demonstrates a difference in the writing forms. I have grown accustomed to writing persuasively and academically, removed from the text. Blogging, a more conversational entity, invites practitioners to reveal more about themselves and their opinions than traditional writing permits.

That’s what I plan to do for the second essay. I am going to take a wordy political science research paper and morph it into a short story. The topic is about where voter preferences and party alignment come from. I’m thinking of creating a story that shows a child’s maturation into citizen who thinks and acts very similar to their parent(s), as well as their surrounding environment including school teachers. It should be interesting to adopt such a polar opposite tone and style. I am still confused at how I will incorporate my scientific evidence into the piece, which is something I will need to work on.

3 thoughts to “A Rookie Blogger’s Reflections on Sullivan’s Article”

  1. The funny thing is many times we think of traditional writing as more reliable, but the thing is, once it’s published. It’s published. It cannot be changed the same way a blog can be. So people can go back to the older version, use it as the source, and have incorrect information. The validity of the argument that print writing is as a rule more accurate suffered a blow for me today when I saw a youtube video where a guy point by point corrected an article that came from the Wall Street Journal about him. Not that certain blogs aren’t unreliable, just the automatic preference should be questioned as Sullivan encourages. Blogging’s quickness in some ways makes it more accurate because it can be changed.

    Your proposal for re-purposing sounds really interesting and very ambitious. It sounds like you’re aiming to do a complete 180 from your original essay. Incorporating scientific information sounds like it would be a tough problem. I would have to ask what person you’re planning to write your paper in? If it’s first person, you could have a knowledgeable narrator and if it’s third, then you can have an omniscient narrator. I guess it’s a problem of voice as well. Have you read The Jungle? In the beginning the author manages to balance the scientific with the human story, but in the end it is straight-up socialist propaganda. It’s very old-fashioned writing but it might be something to look to. The author focuses on character that is representative of many people of that time but ultimately he makes his main character very specific and unique. Maybe focusing on the characters rather than the scientific facts might help you. For what it’s worth, that’s my advice. Good luck on your paper!

  2. It’s funny, and probably not a coincidence that I felt the exact same way as you towards blogging at the onset of this course. I almost associated all blogging content with people that wanted to rant and rave, really having nothing better to do than sit in front of a computer screen and argue with others. But, I am now hesitant to even attempt to compare this form of writing with something like a traditional argumentative essay. I truly believe that every medium does have it’s place, and we cant simply evaluate all forms of writing through one narrow lens.

    I am attempting a similar feat in my re-purposing essay. However, there are so many daunting questions and doubts in my abilities with this completely foreign form of writing. Many of these doubts that I have, are because I am not comfortable with writing fiction. In this form, there is no thesis statement for me to organize my thoughts around, and there really is no audience that I am trying to persuade or convince of something. Essentially, how do you ever know when you have successfully completed a work of fiction. This worries me greatly, and if you have any ideas on how to overcome this, I would forever be indebted to you.

  3. I have been wondering about privacy and writing. The internet allows us to connect with as many people as who can find us on a google search–which begs the question, how honest and open should we be when blogging? How much do we want to give up about ourselves? Effective writing has to be gusty and truthful, and I find even when I’m writing academic papers, I give away hints of experiences and my beliefs. Or is all writing necessarily require the writer to shed their privacy?

Leave a Reply