Saturday, January 20, 2007

The trials, tribulations and dilemnas of a blogger.

I've noticed that many bloggers tend to be very introspective, we devote a relatively high amount of our time, or at least a high proportion of our blogging time, to looking at our own self and why we blog, why we write about what we do and why we are as we are.

I'm no different. I reckon that I spend far more time than the average fellow does on pondering about myself. Sometimes I think so much it hurts, the way your tongue hurts when you accidentally staple it to a wall. I've got a few theories on why this is, as I have on most stuff. One of my simplest ones, and probably the most accurate is this:

We have got what non bloggers would call "too much time on our hands". This whole act of writing and having a blog can be time consuming, some manage to chuck a blog into their lifestyle and not actually spend a significant amount of time on it, but most of us devote a bit of effort, energy and brain power to it. Non bloggers can be caught thinking that bloggers need to "get a life" and that we write about everyday shit because we don't have much else to do.

That may be true of some, but I've yet to read blog written by such a person. The blogs I really like to read are the ones that are written by people who have "lived a little", people who I think have gone through the mill a bit and have some depth to what they've got to say. In my own case one of the reasons I began to blog was simply because I work long hours, but have long periods in which I can be at my desk with relatively little to do. I've got a life (of sorts) and I've found out that I quite like to write about it, wholly innacurately.

The blogging thing fits in nicely with my work patterns and I can write posts at will, save them and edit them as time goes on and publish them whenever I want to. In fact, this particular post was written long before I even had a blog, sometime in the 1980s. I was just waiting for the whole concept to develop before I published these thoughts.

Also the amount of time I have means that I have lots of time to think on things. That's the theory, that people who blog are able to devote more time to self rumination than people who don't blog. We choose to write a bit on our thoughts, in this computer age we don't need to find a publisher or an editor or incur any cost. Assuming we already have access to a computer with an internet connection the world is our potential audience.

Before I stumbled across Kottu, zSri and all the Sri Lankan blogs that are out there, my daily port of call to try to keep up with happenings in Sri Lanka was the online daily newspapers. Now, if I want to know anything about the latest events I know that a blogger will have posted on it, or I can write a post asking for more information. The information I get back is usually more reliable and timely than that I can read in the papers. Surely it won't be too long before online papers, or even paper papers, are a thing of the past. Maybe tomorrow's method of news gathering will be to look up a "news" blog, compiled by any number of people rather than just journalists.

Indyana's post here prompted me to jot down these thoughts. It would appear, assuming I understood her correctly, that she has had similar thoughts to me; I started this blog with no readers, no commenters and certainly no links to and from others. That's all changed now and I've built up a few "regulars", not truckloads of them but a few.

With increasing frequency I find myself writing a post and thinking "will Darwin like this?" or "will 1truecoolguy make a comment here?" or "will Java Jones chuckle away heartily at my wit?"

It's a catch 23. Like a catch 22 but much worse. I don't want to write something that alienates or upsets a regular, I don't want to lose a fellow who comments regularly because I tell him I think he's a twat.

Many songwriters will tell you, should you decide to ask them, that some of the most commercially successful songs were written purely for the composer. But, it's also true that many huge successes were written to a formula designed for no other reason than to sell loads. There's no right and there's no wrong. I just know which camp I want to be in.

Sometimes I can't help chasing readers, chasing comments, watching the statistics and wanting more readers. But I started blogging as an experiment. It's had several unexpected and pleasant consequences; I've made some good new friends and I've taking a positive interest in learning how those proper writers what write proper write properly.

That's all going to stop, I've decided there's only one way forward for me. It's the way of artisitc integrity, or whatever you call it. I'm going to make a concerted effort to carry on writing for myself. If you like it then that's great, but if not, life goes on.

It's only a blog after all.

By the way Indyana. Isn't it about time you had another daughter?

Darwin - I hope you liked this post.


Indyana said...

Rd: I hope you keep writing great blog posts, for yourself as well as for others(on the days that that happens, as it will sometimes)!I was smiling to see this post was a result of something that got you thinking on my blog:)

As for my family, they follow the thought that I blog as I 'have nothing better to do', and my hubby of course NEVER reads it, .
and they all call it my silly or stupid blog. But well I carry on, for whatever reasons.
So it's great to blog, no matter what anyone says....till i myself don't want to anymore.

And now, about that next daughter, now don't be silly....

desertrose said...

very interesting post indeed. and its true, it might be that bloggers have too much time on their hands, but like you said, most bloggers have something of common interst to share, but then again, it is a blog after all, and for a lot of people its an outlet.
interestingly i remember my english professor telling me recently that we have become more and more interdependent now, with the advent of blogging and instant messaging, there seems to be a need for people to constantly stay in touch, to constantly update friends on their lives.while this is a good thing, we might be losing our sense of self, as we all seem to prefer to susbscribe to a collective "us"... wow that went totally off what u were saying..
i've been reading your blog for a while now, and i must say its always been a very enjoyable read..
keep writing:)

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Thanks to both of you

Darwin said...

Cool post, Darwin approves!

Speaking for myself, I don't think you could ever write anything that would offend me or put me off from reading your blog, because as I've said before, I don't get offended. I don't think you should ever self-censor yourself; if you have some thoughts about a certain issue you want to get off your chest, you should not refrain simply because you think it might put off some of your readers. Of course there is a balance between saying what you feel and being a tactless moron (read Jade Goody!), but I suspect you know the difference between the two!

I have blogged about all sorts of stuff; I've picked on fat people, anorexics, religious types, geeks, dumped people, survey callers, heck, even harmless cartoons! I'm bound to have offended some people along the way, and I'm pretty sure I've alienated some people who stumbled across my blog and then though "hmm not my cup of tea". I can't help that, and I'm certainly not going to become a 'traffic whore' or sell out and only blog about stuff for the mass audience.

Anyway, sometimes you do posts which I can't think of a comment for. I never comment for the sake of it so if I have nothing I feel is worth adding, I don't. I know the same applies to my blog, and I know some posts are guaranteed responses by some people, not so much by others. The best thing about your blog is that it is not a one-dimensional 'politics' blog or 'music' blog or 'bitch about my job' blog, which would be rather boring. It's just an eclectic mixture of whatever you feel like writing, and I hope you just keep doing that:)

Sorry for the long comment!

the1truecoolguy said...

I like this post a lot...I was about to start a series of posts that were going to be introspective.

I completely agree with you, yes bloggers might have slightly more time on their hands than others, but I think most of us also tend to evaluate ourselves quite a bit. What I'm finding in terms of topics to blog about is not so much that I'm afraid of alienating people, it's more that since I know people actually read it (and since my thoughts jump around a lot) I have to try and logically formulate my ideas before writing stuff so it doesn't seem nonsensical!

Thanks for this post, it's another confirmation that I should definitely start writing about that stuff! I always enjoy the blogs that seem real...keep up the great work!

ravana said...

One question: which parts of this were written in the 1980s?

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Darwin - Thanks again. I guess the blogs that I like to read are the more eclectic ones too. No need to apologise for the long comment, I love your ramblings.

Ian - I know exactly what you mean about formulating ideas, I've started to write a post about it, just not finished it yet. I often start writing in one direction and then digress until I end up in a whole different area to where I meant to be. By the way your blog looks brilliant, I think I 'll try to do the comment preview thing on this too.

Ravana - Most of the main body, I had to wait until recently to add some specific details in. Things like the names of Darwin, Indyana, etc.

Anonymous said...

i for one have always enjoyed your posts. the range of subjects - rice to manbags to music n more - makes for a space that is rarely (never thus far actually) dull to read. in blogging, just as in music or anything else, u learn to pick the worthwhile from the crap, and in my case - with my new found time - reading up on my favourites has slotted into my rituals..

yours always results in a smile at the very least :)


Anonymous said...

er.. so i think i may have left out the crux of what i wanted to say. ur mind is an interesting enough place. the great thing about blogs is that it allows the space for interesting ideas n thoughts that would otherwise never get published, to get published. keep it "your blog" at all times. and the rest will fall into place.

more mala