1) The blog as running dialogue of what an individual is doing from moment to moment—a sort of babbling onto the limitless white-space of the internet with the assumption that someone actually cares what you just ate for breakfast or what ugly thing your cat just upchucked. I really, really, really have no use for this type of blog. We all have personal issues, good and bad. If I am close enough to someone that I care about their every breath, I wouldn’t need to read their personal blog to learn the latest.
2) The blog as news or information. This is the type of blog I did a little research about while finishing some college courses. I have run across blogs that shine brightly in the areas of both content and format. These blogs look and read just like professional magazine or newspaper articles—and many are written by well-known authors already in those media formats. The only problem I have with this, more professional style blogging, is that it is not recognized by most scholarly institutions as a valid source of information. The blog, no matter how professional it may appear, is still relegated to something less than the opinion page of the local newspaper. Doubtless this is unfair, but it is a current fact. As discourse and publication continues to grow online and standards are consistently raised, the professional blog’s status may rise up to equal that of the print and digital periodical article.
So, I don’t have much use for blogs, at least not yet . . . so why am I writing one? Two reasons: to force myself to write and thus improve my writing over time. I once read an article where writer Harold Coyle* spoke of his writing . . . and he stated that he hated to write. He enjoyed the collecting of data, the investigation, the traveling to sites he would later write about,
but he hated the actual, physical process of writing. Still, despite his dislike of the craft, he forced himself to do it and do it well. I’ve always thought of his attitude as one many of us adopt regarding other occupations. We may like certain aspects of our job and hate others, yet we force ourselves to do what needs to be done to earn a paycheck and pay the bills. I, unlike Mr. Coyle, do not hate writing, but it takes a concerted effort to sit down and do it. Once I lose myself in the words, the poems and the stories write themselves. I suppose what I’m describing here can be summarized in one word: discipline. Discipline is a hard-edged and somewhat ugly word, but it’s pure efficacy. Power to effect change—in this case, improved written communication
I’ve never had much use for blogs. I don’t read them. I will be writing this one to discipline myself into a better writer. I will not be documenting the habits of my cat, nor will I be detailing the moment-by-moment boredom of my mundane life. If there is anything I include that is of interest to someone "out there" in the digital universe—great. If not, that’s okay. This is a blog
that is, essentially, notes to myself . . . .
*Note: Maybe it wasn't Harold Coyle, maybe it was Tom Clancy . . . ?