Many people view weblog writers with surprise and consternation, wondering how they find time to write, and why they bother to write weblogs at all.
The question often arises in connection with BloggersVsJournalists, where it is phrased in economic terms: professionals write for a living, but what (beyond vanity and self-indulgence) leads weblog writers to write? It is coupled, too, to AudienceSize; does the size of the audience merit the effort of writing?
How much time do weblogs require? Much of my own weblog writing simply transfers writing that I would need to do elsewhere -- in memos and private correspondence -- and places it in a broader and more public forum. I receive lots of questions from graduate students, for example, and try to correspond regularly with colleagues on research topics of mutual interest; moving some of this writing to the weblog might make it more useful or more accessible. In the case of the Eastgate Development Peekhole, I simply moved information from inside the office network to the outside; the big win here is that external visibility encourages us to keep the information accurate and up-to-date. I rarely spend more than a few minutes a day on weblog-specific writing. (-- MarkBernstein)
It's hard to measure time spent weblogging, because, as Mark says, a lot of the writing would get done anyway. I often write something for my weblog first, and then later reuse it in an essay, a project proposal or in my PhD thesis. I think I spend anything from a few minutes to maybe an hour a day, weblogging, but if I spend more than five or ten minutes, it's usually because I'm writing something more complex, which will also be used elsewhere. Or I'm trying to redesign the site or something. (-- JillWalker)
Somehow, I see writing for a weblog and writing for all sorts of other reasons as being distinctly different. This is probably why I have never written consistently in a weblog -- though I have always thought I might have something significant to write.
When I write in a weblog, I tend to write long -- sometimes very long -- opinion pieces. I have tried to use a weblog as a place to simply get down ideas (much like Jill discusses above) to be later used for various purposes. It never works. For example, I have recently read two long essays -- one on revising our ideas of plagiarism and one on using multimedia in hypertexts. I consider both wrong-headed and believe I have an alternative perspective. I don't write this piece because I really don't have the time it would take.
I also realize that I don't write short idea pieces for later use. I think them but seldom write them down. Many of these occur during my daily 4 mile walk; I frequently have forgotten them later in the day (this is the source of my strong desire to have a voice recorder which would have the capability of being connected to a computer and could easily be passed through voice-recognition software ending up with files of digitized text.)
Note that I have written more than anyone else on this topic and have probably said less. I'll quit while I'm even.
( KenTompkins )
I am a father of a five-month-old, who started blogging when she was one month old, and somehow, I find lots of time to write here and there. I have found that it is important for me to have an hour or two in the morning, before everybody wakes up, when I can sit by myself and write something.
Actually, I think that the fact that I sometimes get "interrupted" by my daughter needing attention benefits my blogging. All my life, I've had an urge to write, but since I also has been a perfectionist, I often haven't finished what I've started to write. But with weblogging, I've found that it is important to "blog early and often".
By blogging early and often, I post snippets frequently, and for each post my thoughts about some matter grows more and more clear. With the interruptions, I can't sit too long, which forces me to approach things bit by tiny bit.
I feel that the weblog format suggests a "work in progress", that it is allowed to post something unfinished, since you can always return to it, to clarify and amend.
So, a few minutes here and there, combined with posting early and often, ensures a steady flow of posts, and a continuously on-going internal process between posts. I really like the effect on my life that weblogging has had so far.
-- Last edited October 27, 2002
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