So. Blogging has (almost) come of age. Twenty years ago, a software developer in California ushered in a new era of communication. Dave Winer published his first blog post on 7 October 1994. He called his blog Davenet, and he’s been writing it most days since. And today he’s joined by many millions of bloggers worldwide.
Including me. I wasn’t online back when Dave started his blog, but I’ve been reading blogs for maybe 15 years. And I’ve been blogging myself for about 10 years, on and off. I started my own blog to support my professional development – a blog is a great tool for reflective practice. I’ve subsequently blogged in a range of places, for a range of people and organisations. For a range of reasons.
But I haven’t really given much thought to blogging as a creative act.
Ken Robinson says of creativity, it ”involves doing something, it’s a process, not an event” (Robinson, 2009 quoted in Azzam, 2009, p. 22). Well, blogging is certainly ‘doing something’. For me, blogging is about constructing meaning, discovering and drawing out internal thoughts and externalising them. My ideas are on the screen in front of me; they can be stored, retrieved and reconstructed as they become clearer. The act of composing and recomposing helps those abstract thoughts become more concrete.
My blog acts almost as a mirror – reflecting my thoughts back at me. Sometimes I don't really know what I’m thinking until I actually write it down in a physical format. And blogging helps me break out of any inertia in my thinking.
As my blogging has developed I’ve found myself experimenting with new ways to articulate what I want to say. I’ve sought out alternative ways to express myself – through images, quotes, storytelling, video, audio, linking to other resources.
I’ve played around with different voices. As a civil servant I’ve spent many years writing reports, briefings, technical guidance, that sort of thing. There’s not much opportunity to be creative with those. I can say things in a blog post that wouldn’t fit in other formats or settings.
And I don't have to publish if I decide I want to keep those experiments private. I can save them and come back to them later. Or I can ditch them.
But, often, as in this case, I’m writing for an audience. Then, my blogging becomes a social act. Here, as I’m thinking about blogging, I’m sharing those thoughts with you. And hoping that you will have thoughts about blogging, that you will subsequently share with me!
And, perhaps, I’m showing you what is possible. Making it real for you. Inspiring you to have a go yourself. Those folk inspired to have a go by that first post of Dave Winer’s went on to be an inspiration to others. Including me.
Azzam, A. (2009) Why creativity now? A conversation with Sir Ken Robinson. Teaching for the 21st Century, Educational Leadership, 67(1), pp. 22-26.