October 30, 2008
[Reposted from June 2007 – a reminder to discourage shameless self-promotion. I may be more strict on this from here on out.]
As a writer, I appreciate comments that I can get on the content of my entries, which is why I enjoy the current format immensely. However, even though commenters are limited and my blog not well travelled (I presume), I will not tolerate comments made for the sole purpose of promoting other blogs or sites. I would prefer only comments that are directly relevant to the material being covered or at least directly related to the point of this blog itself, so I am henceforth adopting a policy of disapproval for shameless promotion. I won’t moderate all comments that include links to other sites – and in fact, I appreciate the inclusion of such in blog profiles and such as a way of subtle promotion – but if you choose to comment only to link somewhere else without responding to my entry itself, however tangential the content might be to what I am saying, your comment will be taken off. I hate to be authoritarian about it, but this site is mostly writing for myself, even though I hope other people appreciate what I have to say, and as such, I do have some standards.
July 12, 2008
I was saddened to see in my RSS reader yesterday that John DePoe of Fides Quaerens Intellectum is calling it quits. John has had some excellent discussions over his way (he’s been on the blogroll here for quite some time), as well as some quick updates from the philosophical blogosphere and elsewhere (such as William Lane Craig’s recent essay in Christianity Today) that are invaluable.
His reason is one that I have sometimes struggled with: a lack of desire to blog, and John adds that “blogging has felt more like a chore than an enjoyable hobby.” I’ve been there, and it’s hard to muster through with other things happening.
I’ve been blogging off and on (although probably more off than on) for about 3 years now, and the only reason I still feel like doing it is because I still have things that pop into my head, some (relatively) original thoughts and some reflections on various mental stimuli (like reading the blogs of others), that I want to put down (in a metaphorical sense) in writing. It used to be that I felt like my voice needed to be heard because I had important things to say that other people needed to hear, but now my reasons are more selfish (and paradoxically less egotistical): I’ve realized that blogging is more about catharsis for me than relaying important facts or personal wisdom. I also deeply value the use of blogging for reflection, something that drives me (for reasons sometimes unknown to me) to keep two blogs, one specifically to reflect on my teaching/learning experiences.
For any bloggers reading this that might be suffering from similar troubles with blogging, I would make the following suggestions:
- Reassess your reasons for blogging. Unless you have a relatively large readership and are a proficient writer, you’re probably not going to write to appease others who want to read what you wrote. The best thing I think the average blogger can hope for is to have some small regular traffic and other sporadic hits that indicate that someone cares about what you’ve written. Comments are even better, but blogging in the hopes of receiving feedback is probably a futile effort as well unless you choose to write on only the most controversial topics (abortion and evolution are ones that have driven feedback for me).
- Keep your mind thinking about things you might want to write about. I started using Google Notebook to track ideas, some of which have been sitting around for months now, and it has been very useful to provide content (when I don’t spontaneously blog with my ScribeFire interface – another useful tool). Jeremy Pierce of Parableman has stated that he keeps a text file of ideas for blogging that he searches every so often for things to write about. It might even be useful at times to review past writings and follow up or amend previous statements on different topics – maybe even to find holes in them.
- Read, read, read – and then read some more. The best way to keep ideas moving is to take them in – ingest whatever you’re interested in to keep your mind sharp. It doesn’t even matter if you blog about what someone else has written; you may simply be inspired to investigate a certain topic or to find analogous arguments elsewhere, among other things. When you stop consuming writing – something that seems to be a common thread among writers of all types – then you will probably see your own writing flow diminishing as well.
I wish John all the best and thank him for his great site, and I hope that other bloggers will see this as an opportunity to reflect on their own habits and struggles as writers.
May 7, 2008
Here’s to technology possibly making my life (or at least my blogging) much easier: I’ve just installed the ScribeFire extension to my Firefox, and its ability to add and update entries from the browser without actually being on the page is incredible. This is my way of testing to make sure it works decently.
Another possible consequence of this (which would be a big improvement, in my estimation) is that I may end up just writing shorter, less detailed posts meant to evoke discussion rather than entry-length assertions and rants. I think this would improve my ability to be more prolific with my writing, which is notably sparse these days. (The end of the semester in less than a week will also help, hopefully.)
Here goes nothing.
Update: It appears to be working just fine (I think).
January 10, 2007
This is sort of a filler until I have something more significant to say…sorry.
Read the rest of this entry »
August 22, 2006
And I’m the one that convinced him to make his triumphant return. You can all thank me later. 😉