I’m not sure how well this blog will work for me, but I’m already fascinated with how a blog can fill in a space usually unfilled in writing: something more formal than a private journal but less structured than a formal piece. In the past, writers could write only for themselves, for a few friends and family, for professional colleagues, or for publication. But when in the past could we ever write in this public way — for anyone who cares to read and comment? It’s more passive informal public writing: not printed and handed to a couple of friends or peers, but left on the table for anyone walking by to read.I’m also fascinated by how just the little extra structure of a blog (it’s public, formatted, organized, searchable) gives me so much extra impetus to complete some of my random thoughts, to formalize them — even if they’re just seemingly “little” ideas, not yet connected to any other ideas.
In a journal, even a research journal, I can categorize and formalize (a fancy way of saying more adequately develope!) my thoughts. But I usually didn’t. I formalized when I actually came to write a paper. But here I am with no deadlines, no papers to write, but desperately wanting to get my butt in gear and do more thinking and writing. So hopefully blogging will be just the extra impetus for me. Help me, Blog… help help me, Blog!
P.S. A personal research blog is kind of like a diary written with an audience in mind, like C.S. Lewis’ diary from his years as a student (and an atheist), published as All My Road Before Me. He wrote it, I’m pretty sure, thinking that Mrs Moore (his lover?) would/could read it. In it, yeah, a lot of it is tedious details of his daily life. But a lot of it is his comments on his reading, his progress on his epic poem (Dymer, I think it was called), conversations with friends, etc. Now, in his case, I don’t get the feeling that that journal gave him any extra discipline or structure. He had that talent already. But I think it was an early version of a personal research blog.
Gees, if I could do just one-fifth the work Lewis did every day (in addition to all his other duties and responsibilities), I’d be well on my way.