my (self-important) blogging manifesto

did i mention we spent thanksgiving in arkansas? we did.

So, here’s what I’ve decided about my blog: it’s personal, not professional (inasmuch as one can make that distinction in the digital age: what I mean is that I have no professional goals as a blogger, and that any professional goals I have as a writer are not, at the moment, directly connected to my blogging).  
my heart.

I’ll continue to share the journal of my life here: occasional photos, recipes, lists of books and movies and tv shows, and my (mostly unedited, spur of the moment) thoughts.  As my kids grow older, there will likely be less and less about them.  I can share my stories, but their stories should be their own.  

and christmas in georgia

I value the blog because it’s a place where I can write without having to conform to any editorial standard, without any assumed voice. It’s just me.  And I value the blog because it’s a place for connections - for my connections with my real-life friends and family, and with my online friends.  (Thank you.)

The blog is (thirdly) a place where I like to record some of my goals and the steps I take toward them, and to seek your help in that. I have one especial project to undertake in that regard, and I’ll write about it sometime next week.

A number of people have written eloquently at the start of this year about the whats and whys of blogging. Check out Andrew Sullivan, Megan at Sorta Crunchy, and perhaps especially David Sessions at Patrol:

To be a fresh and relevant writer means, I think, that you have to be something like a fresh and relevant person, one who reads slowly and widely, has idiosyncratic interests, goes new places, meets new people, and regularly changes their mind. Feeling my own perspective plundered and empty over the years has pushed me to appreciate the value of, if we use Nolan’s terms, “building up the principal.” I don’t know any universally applicable way to do this, especially if you work in the media. Graduate school has played that role for me: being forced to read difficult books I cared about but would never have worked through otherwise, pushed to make new connections and learn about worlds and historical events I barely knew existed. The more you can be forced past your current perspective, and not just by other bloggers and journalists, the better. The more you can participate in something besides consuming media and blogging, the better. The more you can really learn about something the better; good writing can’t survive all that long on nothing but voice and other people’s reporting.

I’m young, and not ready to be a prolific writer if it means plundering my own perspectives, leaving me emptied of ideas.  I want to be sure I’m busier “building up the principal” - reading challenging books, meeting new people, trying new things - than I am reading blogs and writing blog posts. I want to be a person of wide-ranging interests, one with the ability to follow a sustained, long-form argument, one with as many moments of quiet as moments of digital noise.

So there it is. My new (self-important, narcissistic) blogging manifesto. What do you think?