My goal for 2023 is to start a blog. This was also my goal for 2022, 2021, and at least a few years prior. But why? Social media rendered blogging obsolete. Twitter billed itself as a microblogging tool. For the older, technologically-challenged crowd, some Twitter users even published books of their tweets. Why write your thoughts in long form when you could share a meme, comment on a post, or start a flame war?
The toxicity of social media has made me miss blogging even more. Is it worth it to blog again? Do people read blogs anymore? A story in the Guardian by Hossein Derakhshan always comes to mind. He spent six years in Evin Prison only to find out upon release that no one cares about blogs anymore. The world changed without him. Hyperlinks were no longer important. Photos were. Posting was not enough. Now it mattered what time of day something was posted.
The slow demise of Facebook, the rapid demise of Twitter, and the new popularity of “dumb phones” has made me question the possibility of the rise of a new society of Luddites.
My friends know me as a musician, not a writer. I didn’t record albums or play festivals as a writer, I did so as a musician. If any of my friends find this blog, this may come as a surprise.
When I wrote two novels in my twenties, less than five people know about them. Not a single person read them. I wrote for amusement. The manuscripts went in the desk drawer — or its digital equivalent — never to be seen again.
I’ve kept a few blogs over the years. Some people read them but most didn’t. It didn’t bother me because I enjoyed the work more than anything else. Now every story I see on blogging is about how to earn $500K rewriting various self-help books into digestible blog posts.
As a composer, I batter through every song. Riffs are written when I sit down. Song structures are chosen on the fly. Once I record the music, the loose structure becomes stone, rarely altered afterward.
As a writer, I choose the opposite approach. Yes, there are improvisational free-writing moments but for the most part, I write with structure. All articles and stories are broken down into segments. Each segment is detailed on index cards before it ever gets arranged into its larger form. My writing displays the structure I could never employ as a composer. If anything, my writing could probably make me a better composer.
Another reason for the blog is I like writing and I don’t need anyone’s permission. If I spent all my time caring about what other people thought, I would never do anything with my life. So far, I haven’t.
There isn’t much audience for this blog but I don’t care. There really isn’t much audience for any blog these days. The coronavirus made everyone into a writer (usually fantasy or romance) and an online doomsday prophet. This will be another unheard voice but I hardly mind. A small fish in a large pond has less chance of being eaten. I don’t have the data to back up that last comment.