I have tried to start at least five different blogs in as many years. Only the first was a success — my LiveJournal, chronicling my life from the summer of 2003 to just before the 2004 election. I was a very active LiveJournal-ist. I posted nearly every day, and the writing was — at least, I thought so — rather witty. But I had to put an end to it. This was primarily because I got to a point in my LiveJournal-ing where, during the course of my day, something would happen to me and my first reaction was to begin drafting, in my mind, what I would write about it on my LiveJournal when I got home. I was digesting the experience into words before I had even completed the experience. This, I concluded, was unhealthy.
But there is another trend in my LiveJournal that I noticed while revisiting it recently. My blogging had largely been about personal experiences and had generally left out the larger universe. But ever so slightly, politics started making guest appearances in my posts, as my interest in the 2004 presidential race expanded. In fact, it started taking over my writing entirely until, mid-October of that year, the writing just cuts off altogether. One reason was definitely that I was so busy consuming news I had no time left to express any opinions on it (I was so overfed with information by the time the election rolled around, I didn’t read a newspaper for over a month… I didn’t turn on my television AT ALL until after Christmas). But another reason, I feel, is that the way I prefer to write about politics was changing.
See, I enjoy writing about politics and, even moreso, policy. But I can’t write about it on the fly. I may develop opinions on the fly, but I prefer not to put something “on paper” without thinking it through, doing some research, leaving open the possibility I might change my mind. I’ve always perceived of blogging as being so immediate, so second-by-second reactive, that it doesn’t permit me to respond to events as deliberately as I choose. Also, I indulge far too grand a vision when I picture my writing. I think in volumes. I consider essays my short form. And I don’t mean a Newsweek column; I’m talking a full-fledged Foreign Affairs feature. Writing of that form hasn’t struck me as very welcome in the (I HATE this word — ) “blogosphere”.
But then I realize — the beauty of the blogging format is that you make your own rules, standards, and conventions. Which basically means that my resistance to blogging has been pretty meaningless. I am not bound to blog every day. I can post at my leisure. I can post when I am satisfied with the quality of the post — it doesn’t have to be a spit-fire reflex to a news bit I caught on television. This is remarkably liberating — and a little embarrassing it’s taken me so long to come to this conclusion.
Now, the only obstacle to overcome is my insecurity regarding my own opinions. I clearly value my opinion enough to share it with friends — be it in conversation, or via Facebook links, or what have you. But putting my original writing out into the Internet universe? That opens up to a great big can of scrutiny. It’s a little intimidating.
I’m going to blog anyway. I have arguments that I need to get down in words. I may not keep it up regularly, but that’s okay. I simply want to commit myself to producing the best writing I can on issues I consider important and hope that my words have, ultimately, some impact.