About 6 years ago, long before I started blogging, I had been struggling to finish a single decent article good for newspaper publication. I dreamed of writing a book but it seemed to be much more daunting. I wrote a number of poems, but I knew I had to hone my literary skills. Feeling helpless, I dabbled between dream journaling, writing my dreams down to the last detail; and ranting on morning pages, following Julia Cameron’s freewriting/journaling technique as my refuge of pouring out my existential angsts. I wrote them without minding my grammar and my choice of words. I just played them by ear. What I learned in those days was an important lesson on how I blog today.
In this information age, the means of money-making and expansive marketing often motivate people to venture into online potentials such as blogging. Blogs have been created to strategize, maximize, optimize how to monetize one’s business or endeavor This is valid and true, and we are thankful for those who have shared their knowledge for us to earn more in this changing world. Nonetheless, such emphasis on blog as a socio-economic instrument causes us to miss an important symbolic value of blogging.
This brings us to differentiate blog and blogging. We all know that they are related, almost interchangeable. However, they are totally different in one significant nuance. Blog is a kind of medium, like paper where we can write anything we want. We have blogs as a format of expression, but blogging is the way of expression. Originated from a modern term web log, the words blog and blogging also share cultural roots with journaling, journalism and diary (French: jour; Spanish: dia, day). Blogging is like a digital awareness of our daily lives, incalculable thoughts, and valuable ideas. Blogging is a process of internal experience, a modern way of preserving the memory, a demonstration that we all can create a new story.
Blogging is a process of internal experience, a modern way of preserving the memory, a demonstration that we all can create a new story.
Long before we have learned the alphabets, our species has always yearned to record our experiences. The raw artworks in Lascaux, the hieroglyphs of Egypt or the travels of Marco Polo are examples of our enduring desire to document our temporary but magical experience. We have had a glimpse of Anne Frank’s life in her diary, of Carl Jung’s inner chaos in his Red Book, of Henry David Thoreau’s soulful reflections in the Walden Pond, and of ingenious ideas in Leonardo Da Vinci’s famous notebooks. We do not just extend our memories, we have made them immortal. Such is a phenomenon unique to human beings, allowing us to relive and rediscover ourselves in the brevity of our lifetime while ushering our legacy from one generation to the next.
I believe that this ancient inspiration to leave one’s mark is what compels most of us to blog and share ourselves to the world. Our topics are diverse, but our motivation comes from our inherent humanity. We somehow want to bring back that capacity that only a few did many years back. Newspapers, book and magazine publishers and broadcast companies were once in the helm of information and we trust them to supply us what we need to know. But now, virtually, they are not anymore the center of power. In blogging, power has been decentralized. In the words of Nietzsche, “the center is everywhere”. Each of us becomes the new center, the fountain of information, the hub of connection, the creators of content. We have been wielding the power of words more powerful than ever.
Three years ago, I was called to blog about Love. I was compelled to shatter our usual beliefs about it, the mushiness of our misinterpretations on this perennial topic. For many of us, the idea of blogging about Love sounds cheesy; for some who have read my blog posts, Love is sort of religious, new agey and highfalutin, if not inspiring and soul-stirring. It is too abstract in the world of concrete forms. But I have stayed on my faith that Love has always a deep resonance in many of us. If leaving our mark through writing has timelessly invigorated us, Love has all the more enlivened us, for the essence of how we desire to set our human spirit on stone is encompassed by eternally unspeakable and unlimited experience of Love.
This is my reason why I blog. And this perhaps touches a universal purpose of blogging all bloggers share: we are now reclaiming that creative soul to coalesce with our basic need to grow and connect. Blogging is more than just a social, technological or economic trend. It is the embodiment of our innate creativity, generosity and immortal oneness. We want to reach that breadth and depth of our blogging experiences as the eternities of our impermanent human lives.
Join us at iBlog: The 8th Philippine Blogging Summit on May 25 to 26, A free event for Filipino bloggers. After discussing the essence in this article, I am speaking about The Soul of Blogging as a process (May 26, 9 to 9:20am). My deepest gratitude to the organizers of this event for inviting me to share my insights. For details, please click here.