I’ve been making more of a concerted effort to do something at least a little bit creative every day this week, and I think it’s been having the desired effect. Little by little I am regaining small portions of my soul I thought I had lost forever. I’d been fairly certain that all the stresses of working two jobs, planning a wedding, maintaining the 4.0 that is only important to me because I have never had one before, keeping a happy if not clean home, and generally maintaining my health would suck every last bit of pleasure from all the remaining years of my life. Luckily it appears I was wrong. As is generally the case when I have these kinds of dire thoughts.
One of the things I’ve done – and the six or eight people who still read this site may have noticed – is actually post here every day this week. This has proved both gratifying and disappointing. Gratifying because having the site gives me a reason to write. Disappointing because all the effort I put into what I write always seems to fall short of how I imagine it to be before I sit down to write.
It has gotten me wondering about websites and the act of blogging and what it all means. I know that Neil has mused about this more than once on his own site and even in person with me when we met a year or so back. How much is blogging a tool for creative stimulus, and how much does it hold me back from doing something even more important? I mean, as stimulating as it is to write about my Pinewood Derby car and the purpleness of its flames, is it so far-fetched to say that sitting around thinking of things to say to the half-dozen or so people who come by here might actually not be the best use of my creative time?
I think it comes down at least in part to the balance between virtual life and real life, and how the two actually and in fact intersect. If blogging really is a tool for achieving creative success (however we decide to define that, which is probably a whole other question entirely), how do we best utilize it to realize that success? I’m sure hundreds, if not thousands, of books have been written about this, but does it really work for everyone? Can it really work for everyone? Should it work for everyone?
Some people think blogging is nothing more than an online journal. I suppose I could buy that, but for me even that is not entirely true. What I write (by hand, with a pen and piece of paper) in my own journals has never resembled anything I wrote on this site. Here I know there is an audience. It may be a small one, but it still exists. Of course what I would say in my own private world would be different from the public one.
I know I’m not the first to wonder this, and that my thoughts are far from original really, but I can’t help but wonder how much this site has helped me creatively, and how much it has kept me from doing something completely amazing in an entirely different way. I turn the question to you: For those who maintain your own sites, what do you think? What do you get out of blogging?