I really enjoy blogging. I also really enjoying talking about how much I enjoy blogging. Because of the few comments I get, I’m always surprised whenever my blog comes up in conversation, and I always take the opportunity to gush about it. The amount I have to say about it has indicated to me that I have now thought about blogging enough to blog about it. In fitting with the conversational setting by which this topic arose, I’m going to do a first and write this in a FAQ/interview style.
Now that we’re introduced, I would like to hear a bit more about how you got started blogging.
I started blogging probably about 6 or 7 years ago during high school. I caught the tail end of the Xanga fad and instead started posting on Blogger. I started out doing a mix of anecdotes from the day and some fiction, but fortunately, I’ve moved away from that.
How has your blog changed?
Dramatically. At some point, I moved into a longer form where I would focus more on a particular idea instead of just random events. I’ve gone through some ups and downs with my blogging, including a few quarters where I didn’t post much, or just posted stuff that I was writing for class, but I’ve never taken a long enough break to say that I ever stopped blogging. Along with that, I’ve also had some periods where I felt like my writing was really good, and others where I was pretty embarrassed about the stuff I was writing.
Why would you post something that you don’t think is good?
Because it’s a blog, not a book. What you see usually comes from me sitting down for a half hour and typing until I run out of more things to say. That means that it’s unedited, and the topic and material often drifts very far away from where I thought it was going. For example, I thought my last post was pretty bad for exactly that reason. In any case, if I’ve taken the time to write it, I’m going to post it.
So how does that evolution of the topic happen?
Sometimes good, sometimes bad. I’ve noticed a few things about my style of speaking that affect how I write. First, I often explain things by explaining other things. If you ever hear me start a sentence 3 or 4 times, that’s me adding a new level each time to explain the previous start I almost had. After I’m done with each, I’ll get back to the previous idea I had, kind of like a stack of topics. I think my writing has that quality too as my writing usually has a more circular instead of linear quality to it. I start somewhere, go deeper and deeper, then find my way back to where I started.
Second, I’m also really bad at explaining what I consider my more thoughtful ideas in the moment. I apologize if you’ve ever been in a discussion class with me, because I’ll have a spark that turns into the first sentence of my comment, then ramble and repeat myself for another 3 or 4 sentences. By that point, I’m lost, everyone else is lost, and my original point is lost. Sad times.
Given that, I think my writing style is overall very different from my speaking style.
So how do you come up with topics for your blog that go through this transformation in writing?
I usually have a few thoughts on my mind as I’m going about life. Truth be told, my life isn’t that exciting. In fact, most people’s lives are that exciting. There’s certainly a bias for writers to have amazing lives as the basis for stories, but that’s not me. Instead, I like to observe life as it is and think deeply on everyday things. If you take a moment to think about any of my posts after reading, you’ll probably find that you can summarize it in one sentence. The rest is just essay.
I’m really impressed. I don’t think I would be able to keep writing a blog for so long.
Okay, so first, that statement is confusing, because you, the interviewer, are me, who has managed to write a blog for exactly as long as I have.
Getting past that, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a reason that I personally have not gotten past in keeping a blog for so long. One reason I’ve heard is, “My life isn’t that interesting.” I think I covered that above: my life isn’t interesting, either, but that doesn’t stop me from expanding a detail into 1000 words.
Another is, “I don’t write very well.” I have 2 responses to that. First, writing gets better with practice. My blog was awful at the beginning, but over the years, I think it’s improved enough that I’m not actively embarrassed by it at all times. Second, I don’t think I write very well either. Were I to spend some time editing my work, I would feel better about it, but that’s not the style of it. I emailed back and forth with Grandpa Leslie Whipp (former English professor) for awhile, and we talked a bit about one point where I spent 3-4 days revising my blog. I mentioned that I was still dissatisfied with it, and his response was simply that it was only as good or bad as the context. A blog isn’t supposed to be amazing if it’s just a bunch of random posts, and the writing itself is a learning process regardless of editing. So you kind of get a pass based on the context.
I think those are the main 2 reasons I’ve heard. I’ve also had similar conversations about journals: a lot of people have had journals for maybe a few weeks, then failed to keep it up. I’ve kept a journal for a very long time, and I strongly believe that it’s been very important to my personal development. Some of the content is blogworthy (those are the few posts that receive any editing as I move words around while transcribing), but most of it is definitely not for wandering eyes. It’s healthy and is another good way to keep up with writing.
Aren’t you worried about posting so much about your personal life online?
Not really. In fact, I think my blog might be some of the least personal stuff that I have put on the internet. At least in its current form, my blog is observations about life around me without too many specifics. Compared to my facebook friends lists, resume, and various profiles, this is pretty risk-free.
So what do people usually have to say about your blog?
As I stated in the intro, it doesn’t come up much, but when it does, usually it’s been someone who’s been excited to have been mentioned in my blog. That’s about it. And just to keep the game afoot, let’s throw out a mention for RJ since he’s the next friend I’m going to see (as of when I’m writing, not posting, this post)
How are you so sexy?
I get this a lot, especially from random people in the grocery store and crashing their cars as they turn their heads distractedly when they see me on the sidewalk. I’m not really sure. I guess a childhood of computer games and math competitions just builds a physique like this.
Do you have a favorite blog?
I think the Dilbert Blog by Scott Adams is pretty good as he takes crazy and extreme positions on random issues and ideas, just to make us think. Gigi, a blogging colleague from TUSB, has a personal blog that I happen to like a lot as she find a really amusing way to reflect on daily life that I wish I had. There are a slew of other blogs that I really like, but in the interests of staying close to the call for a single favorite, I’ll finish it at that. If you’re sad that I didn’t just blogroll you, remember: you can’t be my favorite if you don’t write regularly for me to enjoy regularly.
Any last thoughts, since you’re prone to rambling?
Blogging in general has been a really great thing for me as it’s spared me my pride in my ability to compose English sentences. After a few years of writing essays for high school and college courses, I was very close to “giving up” writing as much as possible having been thoroughly thrashed for the quality of my writing in multiple classes. Despite that, I’m still blogging and am very proud of the fact that even if it doesn’t really stand up to critical analysis, I am capable of sitting down, starting with nothing, and writing 1000+ words on a topic in a pretty short time. In-class essays and papers started the night before never got me to that point, so I guess this is how I got the education I really wanted.
And finally, blog! And by that, I mean “blog” as an imperative, not an exclamation. I enjoy reading almost as much as I enjoy writing, and the utility per hour is definitely way higher, so take a stab at it.
Thanks for you time, Kevin!
No, thank you. Or me. I’m kind of confused.
Me, too. In fact, I think this artificial interview was a bad structure for this post.
Really? Since when did the interviewer become the critical blogger?
Well, I blame it all on you, because I as the interviewer exist only as a construction for this post. But I’m also you. Is it possible to talk imaginary people to death via paradox, like Kirk did to supercomputers in the original “Star Trek”?
This interview is over.