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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Blogging vs Writing

Is blogging the same as writing? Here is an interesting discussion:

Blogging is an activity that is so distinct from the experience of writing that it should be called something else altogether. One does not write a blog post except in the sense that one “writes” a shopping list or a business plan . . … The short answer is that blogging is a social activity, while writing is, properly speaking, a use of one’s solitude. There is nothing solitary about blogging.

 Thing is, any kind of writing is deeply social because it is all about language, and language is a tool of communication. This is why I move so easily between scholarship and blogging. It’s all the same process of trying to get your ideas across to other people. Whether those people are present throughout the process in the form of students who discuss these ideas in your class, colleagues who question them during conferences, friends who roll their eyes when you start going on and on about the nation-state yet again, or blog readers who do all of these things and more is not very important. Writing doesn’t happen in isolation from the world. Writing is about engaging with the world. 

A scholar who is writing a monograph engages with all the scholars who came before her and got her to this starting point. A novelist draws on a lifetime of reading texts created by other people and interacting with other people. Whether there is somebody in the room when the writing occurs doesn’t change the nature of the activity. Writing is still about creating a bridge between one’s mind, one’s inner life, one’s store of thoughts and feelings and everybody else. 

If Cervantes got up after writing a little bit of his Quixote and rushed to read this small new paragraph to whomever was living in his house at the time, asking “So? What do you think? Does it make any sense?” and receiving feedback and arguing about it, would that make him any less the great Cervantes we all admire? I’m obviously not saying I’m “just like” Cervantes because I write. I’m saying that procedure isn’t important. Writing is writing. 

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6 thoughts on “Blogging vs Writing

  1. Just a few days ago I was reading about how many people, especially academics, treat writing as a kind of magic ritual.

    For some, the idea that others might have different magic rituals is an insult to their belief system and brings out their inner inquisitor.

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    • Very true. In reality, it’s whatever works for each individual writer. And the variety of preference is enormous. Who cares, though? The most important thing is whether anybody wants to read what you have written.

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  2. DWeird on said:

    “Thing is, any kind of writing is deeply social because it is all about language, and language is a tool of communication.”

    I have to softly disagree. I talk to myself, I have an inner voice – a number of them even – but it seems strange to me to describe that experience as a “social” one. I know there are people that would, and I can go along for the journey, for a while, through the implications of core aspects of a being described as determined through linguistic or social pressures… But I’ll need to part ways eventually – that path leads to an inability to even consider yourself as separate, independent entity.

    As far as the actual subject of writing goes – sure, yeah, it’s communication, but communication at a great remove, and so less of a immediate reaction to whoever else the writing is talking to. As a reader, too, you get to make up all sorts of nonsense about what the text is about, and the writer won’t be there to slap you upside the head. That distance can be powerful and useful, but it’s there.

    Oh, and while I’m on the subject, sometimes I think the cult of writing (to which I subscribe) has a lot to do with the allure of communication with an entirely silent partner.

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  3. He’s got an idea of what blogging is that he really wants to promote. And he seems to want to police peoples’ style in blog posts. If you write as you write in an essay to be published on paper, you are not blogging, etc. Gosh, what a pedant!

    I do find that in blogging as in journalism, it is important to make shorter paragraphs than in other writing. I also think blog posts work best if they are relatively short. But heck–those are my preferences, and if someone else doesn’t blog that way I will not say they “aren’t blogging.”

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  4. This is silly. Of course blogging is writing. Is it writing that is publishable in a literary magazine? Typically not, but that doesn’t mean it’s not writing.

    People blog in different ways. Some blog posts are diary entries. Some are recipes. Some could qualify as decent short-form nonfiction. Some make you think and feel just as much as the best literary fiction.

    I have been blogging for 7 years now and I guarantee that the experience of blogging has drastically helped my written communication in general, which is seen in the improved quality of my technical and other professional writing as well as in the speed with which I can produce clear technical documents. Blogging is definitely not technical writing, but considering how helpful I have found it in my profession, it might as well be.

    I hate pedants and purists.

    The thing is that blogging, for most bloggers, ends up being exactly what the blogger wants. No editor, no revisions that squeeze the writer’s voice out of the text.
    It may not be award-winning writing, but it is writing, and it is usually more authentic than most other forms.

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  5. Blogging can also be quite an ANTI-SOCIAL activity, depending on the attitudes of the writer.

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