Recently Brian LePort asked, “Are biblioblogs dying?“:
I know for some this is pointless, but for others of us biblioblogs were our first microphone to join a broader discussion, our first means of interacting with scholars to whom we didn’t have direct access, and a place to share what we’ve learned or to read what others have learned. Is this changing? It seems to me that it is.
Although I have only been blogging a short time, Brian LePort’s reflections on the dangers of student blogging made me second-guess myself the day after I bought this domain. Now he is making me thinking about the advantages of blogging! Why bother blogging if it may be a dying art? My reply:
Blogging forces me to write in a concise, punchy style far from the lengthy, formal fashion I use for term papers. Yet it also tends toward more depthy and lengthy thought than a typical tweet or facebook status. And even if family and friends comprise most of my readership, I have had some interesting conversations with them as they read my blog then “reply” to me in person or on the phone.
I blog because blogging’s mix of brevity and depth makes me a better writer.
When I was in community college, I took a course where we had to write one-page papers. In that one page, we had to give broad overviews of shifts in Western culture, while citing three primary sources. Another professor, for a course in early medieval literature, made every student in the class present their term paper in two minutes. But the most extreme school of concise writing were the three years I spent writing 150-word abstracts for the Bay Area Honors Symposium, a conference for community college honors students to present their original research.
I learned how to make my writing lapidary and action-packed, trying to convey as much nuance as possible in each word. These have been the most growing opportunities for me as a writer and presenter. Blogging forces me to be that brief on a regular basis. While every blogger has a different average length for a blog post, it is an axiom of the internet that peoples’ attention spans are short. My personal limit is 500-600 words.
The brevity of blogging, I’ve found, is very different from papers for courses. Usually my structure and style are good enough on the first go to get an A. But if I adapt that essay into a blog post, as I did with my first Chaucer post, I have to commit a lot of triage to make it a workable blog post. When I only have 500 words, I am checking and re-checking, forced to narrow down my essential point.
What do you get out of blogging? How has it helped your spiritual and intellectual life?