Around two months ago I reluctantly came to the conclusion that I no longer had time to maintain two blogs. I won’t go into the reasons here, but the case seemed pretty unanswerable. So I closed down this blog and decided I would focus on Sociological Imagination. Since then I’ve felt the quality of my writing gradually deteriorate. The reasons for this seem obvious to me: objectively I write much less without a personal blog. The recurrent practice the blog helps ensure writing is a taken for granted part of my everyday life, it’s something which I feel no more anxiety about than other mundane daily activities.
I’ve found my creeping sense of dissatisfaction in the last two months extremely worrying. It’s a new experience for me to look at my writing, conclude “this is crap” and to feel uncertain of how to fix it. It’s not that I was always happy with my writing up to this point. I really wasn’t and I have multiple ‘working papers’ which demonstrate this. But when blogging was a part of my daily routine, my response to difficulty was to keep writing. The challenge added to my enjoyment of the process, rather than contributing to my descent into a seething mass of writerly neurosis.
Having a personal blog enables a cheerful optimism about writing. One which I never want to be without again. In the words of one of my favourite punk bands, it facilitates ‘word acrobats, performed with both harness and net’. I feel like I learnt to write seriously in the last couple of years of my PhD, when blogging became a daily activity for me. That’s when I began to take profound pleasure in writing for the first time. I’m not entirely sure I can be a writer, as opposed to someone who is contingently obligated to write stuff, without having my own blog.