If your browser supports Refresh, you'll be transported to our new home in 5 seconds, otherwise, select the link manually. Thank you

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

In Defense Of Blogging

Today I attended a writing workshop. The people who were there were mostly artists who wanted to write about their creative practice, though there were a few writers like myself. Some of the writers wrote for academic publications; others for newspapers and magazines. A question that came out of the presentations had to do with blogging. The question was: what is a blog and how can we use it? To my surprise, most people were not sure.

Those few who had heard of blogging (here in the UK, we're a bit behind our friends in North America) believed it was some sort of online diary. And although that's one possibility, I believe a blog is so much more than that. Yes, some people create diaries and travelogues, but other people create so much more. I don't know what those people would make of joetheartist's blog, the Liverpool blog, the networking blog, and our resident philosopher's blog - to name just a few. These blogs don't fit into the online diary stereotype perpetrated by the unknowing.

A Blank Piece Of Paper

For me, people were getting hung up about the form over the content. As one person puts it, when an artist sits down with a blank piece of paper, anything can be created. It can be a work of art, a doodle, the beginning of a novel, a mind map for another creative idea. So for me a blog is an online version of that blank piece of paper. It is exciting precisely because the blogger can create anything s/he wants to.

Liberating Creativity

When I started blogging here, I didn't know what I was going to do. My blog has evolved as I have interacted with people here and seen what they like, what they appreciate and, most importantly, what they ignore. This, for me, is another key part of the blog puzzle - the possibility of interacting with your audience. Some people might find this frightening; I find it liberating. Just think, I can write what I like, try out ideas, get feedback, improve my creative output - all before I try to sell a piece of writing to a potential client.

In the past, this creative process took place offline, sometimes alone, sometimes with like-minded people. But the fact that creativity is taking place in full view of the world does not negate the viability of blogging as a creative form. In a sense, it gives everyone the possibility of being an artist but allows them to choose the form that their art takes.

Answering The Question

In the end, my answer to the question was this: a blog is what individuals make of it. And a blog is also a conversation with your audience. That seems to me to be a good thing for all artists, including writers.

So that's my view on blogging; what's yours? I'm seeing these people again in a couple of weeks and I'd love to give them some insight into what committed bloggers think on this issue.

More posts on blogging:

Blogging and Creativity
Blogging As Portfolio
How WritingUp Helped Me Get A Writing Job

No comments: