Re-visiting “Why I Blog”

Just so you know, I didn’t think of this opening sentence in advance. I just wrote it, just now, as you’re reading it. Welcome to my mind. I think in lists—not all the time—but a lot of the time. Because a lot of the time I am figuring out everything I need to do and there’s simply too much to remember. Eggs, yogurt, baby carrots, Cholula. Do laundry. Respond to that email. Sign up for yoga class. Call Mary back. Write blog post.
But to write this, I first had to re-read Sullivan’s “Why I Blog,” and as I read it, I kept a digital sticky note floating next to my browser window. Below I have outlined a list of questions and comments that went through my head as I scrolled Sullivan’s lengthy article:

  1. What would Orwell consider Sullivan’s motivation here?
    • Egoism? Aesthetics? History? Politics?
      • There’s definitely some egoism going on here. I mean, Sullivan is arguing in favor of a form of writing that he is deeply involved with. He is writing to support and affirm his own beliefs, and transfer those beliefs to his readers. Nothing wrong with that though. There’s some attention to aesthetics (like his reference to jazz and the comfort of reading printed words while lying in bed), but that’s not the focus. His motivations in this article are mostly historical and political. He puts blogging into a historical context, by stating its origins and how it has taken shape on the internet today, and into a political context, by explaining the role that blogging plays in online journalism.
  2. What would Didion think of the blogging process?
    • Didion believes in writing as a channel for discovery. While for Didion this belief applies mostly to storytelling, I think it can be applied to any form of writing. Sullivan and Didion would probably agree that blogging is a productive way to think through new ideas. However, as Sullivan mentions, the ideas formed through blogging are so fresh that they are often picked apart and scrutinized. So will all blog posts lead to an award-winning novel? Definitely not. But is there value in recording par-baked ideas? Absolutely.
  3. Sullivan thinks that writers have thin skin!
    • Does Joan Didion have thin skin?
      • It’s hard to tell, maybe that’s why she seems so cool.
  4. After reading that Sullivan has an assistant to help him find links and photographs, I considered including an overwhelming amount of hyperlinks and obnoxious memes in this post as my way of saying: HEY EVERYONE, THIS IS A BLOG!
    • I decided not to. But a few is ok.
    • I also considered writing this blog post about the ways in which blogging is similar to clickbait media. I decided against that as well.
  5. A blog could be a way to look back on your own writing and see how your motivations have changed.
    • This is where Orwell’s thoughts on a writer’s motivations and Sullivan’s interest in blogging intersect with my experience in the writing minor. The exercises, blog posts, and projects of this course will act as a record of how and what I thought as an undergrad at Michigan. However, this personal record becomes more rich and complex when combined with my own out-of-class writing. I hope that this writing minor not only strengthens my linguistic skills but also my passion to exercise my voice. I hope to finish this course, and graduate from Michigan, with a drive to continue to write.
  6. Sullivan mentions that bloggers must have a blogging sensibility. This reminded me of how Orwell described his younger-self as having a “facility with words,” and lead me to believe that Orwell would have been a great blogger.
  7. Sullivan notes that bloggers don’t have much time to evolve their thoughts and opinions.
    • This is troubling for me, because I am so afraid of saying something that I later regret. I know I have to overcome this fear, and keeping a blog is a great way to do that.
  8. The last thing I thought about was how Sullivan kept referring to blogging as “writing out loud,” which, in combination with the demand for immediacy, made me think to write a blog post in which I lay out my raw thoughts, as they exist in my head, before I’ve had the time to edit and censor.
    • I hope this didn’t give you a headache.

One thought to “Re-visiting “Why I Blog””

  1. The way you wrote this was fun to read, and your first couple of sentences were really engaging. It goes to show that this idea of “writing out loud” can be really beneficial. I like the idea you have that blogging is a way to look back on your writing to see how your motivations have changed. It also shows how many other things can change, depending on what you blog about. I think a lot of us have the fear of writing something we later regret. But, I think some of my favorite stuff I have read is when a writer is real and says what they’re thinking and doesn’t let anything stop them. Those quotes are the ones I find inspiring and impressionable.

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