Blogging is a strange art.
It’s a form of self-publishing, but without the extensive editing and revision that most authors inflict on their self-published prose.
As a result, the content and quality of blog posts can be scrappy and variable. Poor grammar, dodgy spelling and clunky structure are commonplace. And, all too often, blog posts are prime examples of unrestrained egotism, being supremely uninteresting to everyone except the blogger themselves; acting more like personal diaries than public publications.
And yet, blog posts can be riveting, giving insights into topics you would not otherwise consider, and presenting intriguing snapshots of other people’s lives. The instant aspect of publishing a post also gives blogs an immediacy, a vibrancy, and a topical relevance that makes blogging more like journalism than other forms of writing.
Blogging is hard work.
It takes perseverance and practice. You have to think of topics to write about. Then you have to do the actual writing. And, finally, you must have the courage to hit the [Publish] button – and fling your work out into the public blogosphere.
I’ve had a number of blogs, some of which are quietly abandoned, others I post to only very occasionally, and some I post to every few weeks or so. This blog (Ruthless Scribblings) falls into the last category, and I feel vaguely guilty about not updating it more often. In fact, if it wasn’t for the required monthly updates on my writing progress driven by the 5 Year Project scheme, I would rarely publish anything here at all.
There is one blog, however, that I publish to on a regular basis. And that’s my coastalwalker.co.uk blog. Here I publish an account of each day of walking on my round-the-coast trek, along with a selection of photographs I’ve taken. Writing-up the walk takes almost as long as the walk itself. Sometimes it actually takes longer. And sometimes it feels like a chore. But only sometimes. Mostly I enjoy it tremendously.
Why do I enjoy writing up my walks? The very nature of this lengthy trek – which I started 5 years ago, means I am most unlikely to revisit the places I pass through. Maintaining the blog is my way of capturing the experience of places and events, and hanging onto the memories. It’s the equivalent of a personal diary. At least, that’s how it started out.
But, you never know what will happen when you start publishing your thoughts to the world.
Blogging brings unexpected results
Some of the unintended outcomes of my Coastal Walk blog are as follows:
- being contacted by other walkers and making new friends,
- hosting discussions about walking in particular, and the meaning of life in general,
- acting as a focal point for information on walking a particular area of the coast,
- realising I am now considered to be a minor expert in long-distance hiking, an impression which I know to be entirely false,
- commissions to write guest blogs for other people (I shall talk about these guest blogs in another post).
Just as the continual practice of walking has improved my physical ability, so the continual practice of writing about the walking has improved my writing ability.
In fact, I feel embarrassed when look back at some of my earliest posts on coastalwalker.co.uk , and have to resist the urge to tidy up and improve the prose.
It’s been a long journey so far, but a journey well worth making.