Saturday, January 23, 2010

Why blog?

I'll admit, it's hard to blog when you don't have any readers. What's the point, right? I could get some readers if I told my friends & family I was blogging, but I'm doing my best to be anonymous here. Not completely anonymous--more like creating a new online persona that is separate from my offline self. I'd like to be able to be free to speak my mind without fear of real-world repercussions.

So why am I blogging? First, to learn to write better. I don't love to write, but as the saying goes, I love to have written. Whenever I take an English class and re-experience writing, I realize that writing should be a very big part of my life.

Second, because better writing leads to better thinking. This is especially evident for me when I analyze literature. Writing forces me to clarify my position and defend my statements, so naturally it leads to better positions and statements. When I write regularly, I start to think about everything in terms of how I would write about it. That leads to sharper thinking and analysis even about the things I don't write about.

Finally, better writing and better thinking sharpen my definition of myself as well. It makes me feel more real. It adds great value to my life. It reminds me of the books in the series His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman. In a late chapter of the last book, The Amber Spyglass, one of the characters has a realization:

"Conscious beings make Dust - they renew it all the time, by thinking and feeling and reflecting, by gaining wisdom and passing it on."

When I write, and revise, and revise again, I am making more magic in the world. It would be great to have an audience, and maybe I will someday. But for the moment, it is enough to do this just for myself.

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