Less Precious

I've been mulling over a question from Tom Critchlow's “January 2022 – Map of Inquiry” (source): “How do we get more people blogging?” As Tom writes,

Networked writing relies on… the network! I have a variety of friends and contacts that I wish blogged more. How to encourage / support and nurture more people writing online […]

This is a tangle of a question. A singular thread of it I hadn't thought of before was revealed to me by Laurel Schwulst's lovely post “To write, I first must world” (source). Therein, Laurel brings up the distinction of calling writing spaces a “notebook” rather than a “blog.”

While perhaps easily overlooked, this naming them “notebooks” is important. Traditionally a “notebook” is something you have multiple of … in the paper world, you often have different notebooks for different purposes. Whereas a “blog” feels like you have only one and it’s this monolithic thing. So inherently notebooks are less precious and more context-specific than blogs.

Going the notebook route is a clue to how I was able to convince myself that blogging / writing, despite feeling like an alien, was okay and fun.

The word “blog” can have this connotation of polish, of putting our words on a singular framed canvas to be displayed at a global art exposition. No wonder there's an entropic force to maintaining one. This is why Laurel's notebook framing is a refreshing contrast to the stage fright evoked by thinking of a blog as “this monolithic thing.” Using a notebook evokes a sense of looseness, of letting ideas out where ever they may and connecting them in the process. A blog can be like that, there are many already that follow this approach. I suppose it just needs to be echoed to others as a viable approach, myself included.

And look, there are blogs with polished thoughts. Less like notebook and more like a collection of thoughtful essays. Those blogs I deeply admire as well. I suppose the notebook reframing, as Laurel states, is more of a matter of convincing yourself that blogging is okay and fun. That's all that matters no?