After reading all three of these self-reflection pieces by Orwell, Didion, and Sullivan, I have come to one conclusion: writers want to tell people the things they think inside of their head before they even know what those things are. Didion, in her “Why I Write” essay, says it best: “Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write.” And then in Orwell’s piece where he discusses the “four motives” for a writer: “Historical impulse. Desire to see things as they are, to find out true facts and store them up for the use of posterity.” Writers are constantly trying to figure out the world around them and they are best able to do this through the writing they produce. Even when writing this blog post, I had the slightest idea what I was going to write about until I started moving my fingers against my keyboard.
And that’s where Sullivan comes in. With the ability for writing to be instantly scrolled across our vast technological landscape–posted and shared in a matter of seconds–writing becomes different. I am not saying writing becomes better or worse than the previous analogous form, but I am arguing it becomes different. The main difference is timing, we are able to share our thoughts faster, but that also means our readers expect our thoughts to come faster. Sullivan has an awesome comparison in his piece about blogging and writing: “Blogging is therefore to writing what extreme sports are to athletics: more free-form, more accident-prone, less formal, more alive. It is, in many ways, writing out loud.” In my experience blogging has been a way for me to write exactly what I would like to say when I want to say it. I am not burdened by the formal constructs of strict grammar rules or a professional tone. I am able to place the exact words that are running through my head onto the electronic page without worrying if that word choice was too repetitive or if I’m even making any sense. I can just write.
Thinking about the “urgency” embedded within Orwell’s and Didion’s writing, I really think they would come to love blogging. Both writers discuss the intense need to be able to release the thoughts inside their head through writing, Didion going on to say (as mentioned above) that she can’t even access the thoughts inside of her head unless she writes. This makes me wonder: What would Orwell and Didion say about blogging? I am imagining Orwell would probably look a little something like Ron Swanson interacting with computers for the first time:
But maybe if he got past all of the technical difficulties, he would end up thinking blogging was the perfect platform to share his political ideas. Or maybe he would think it was a waste of time, a place where a fully constructed thought could not be produced? Didion, on the other hand, would probably LOVE blogging. Her desire to get the words outside of her head onto the page would be best fulfilled through blogging because the options are limitless online. She would be able to write as much as she wanted and as fast as she wanted. Her sense of urgency that we talked about in class today (holla to my Writing 220 class) would be subdued.
Thinking about all of this in regards to my “Why I Write” piece, it will be important to think about what makes me feel urgent about my writing; what makes me want to “write out loud.” I will want to uncover that first moment I recognized I was a writer and discover what has made me into the writer I have become today. Whether it be writing imaginative stories in the second grade, winning a fiction writing contest a few short years later, or starting my own blog my freshmen year of college, there have been several moments where I have been able to call writing my home. Tapping into those things is what is going to make my “Why I Write” piece the most effective.