I’ve been blogging nearly every day for five years. I find it seductive. Each day I experiment with trying to tell a tale in staccato style. Punctuation, backstory, and truth are less important than the story of the moment. Hyperlinks and parentheticals flesh out some detail. At times the writing is purposefully obtuse as a nod to my in-group of readers.
Then there’s the seduction of constant navel-gazing. My readers seem to find me (and my self-absorbed stories) fascinating enough to return regularly (read: HUGE ego-boost). In meatspace I’m a fairly straightlaced and nondescript Mom living in the suburbs of the OC. On the blog I’m crass, cranky and quirky.
Yet what I find the most seductive about blogging is the continued experimentation. It’s a challenge to find something new to say every day and to find new ways of saying it (especially when my life is just a mundane mix of grad school, parenting, and spiritual seeking–it’s hard to imagine more boring story fodder). So I have to think about how best to ‘hook’ my readers, how to provoke a response, and how to write with such skill that my posts are linked by larger blogs.
Now that I’m addicted to blogging, I wonder how it will affect my professional life. Though I’m a few years from facing the job market, I can’t help my think that search committees might be put-off by my flower photos and rambling observations. Often I vow to stop blogging and focus my time on more legitimate academic pursuits (just think, people, of all the book reviews I could be writing instead of blogging!).
But then I consider this: Blogging lubricates my writing muscles. Pounding out a two paragraph post during my morning latte primes me for a day of historical inquiry. I’ve also learned plenty about the technical back-end of digital humanities that I wouldn’t have otherwise encountered. Creating a website? Easy. Putting together a podcast? Not too hard. Adopting new technologies for research? Not much of a learning curve.
Additionally, as a historian with interests in disability studies and radical feminism, blogging offers a groundbreaking platform for grassroots political activism and community-creation. On both of these fronts, I am convinced that we are making history with each blogpost.
Right now job-market uncertainties seem too far away to sweat about whether to continue sharing my shameful confessions. Yet for many months now I’ve kept my writing here on MHP fairly professional and dispassionate (read: dry). I’ve decided that it’s time to have a bit more fun so I can keep my continued interest in the podcast and blog. I hope you’ll come along for the ride and take the risk to jump in and leave a few comments, or even volunteer to join in the fray by contributing a guest post or a podcast interview.