I’ve been thinking about this recently – the art of blogging – mainly because my philosophy school has been seeking blogs to publish on their web and help publicise the benefits of studying and practicing philosophy and meditation.
Here then are a few things i’ve observed;
blogging – like all activities – takes practice and –
in most cases, and with occasional fallbacks, you get better with practice.
that’s the good news.
Regular practice is required to improve and maintain improvement – the (very) occasional blogger just doesn’t cut it.
that’s the not-so-good news.
And then you ask yourself – “What is a better blog?
– how do you measure it, by views, by likes, by comments, by the number of words, by the number of blogs?
All these could be relevant. I found, with time and practice, that i could reread earlier blogs and not feel embarrassed by them. Some very early writings still embarrass me but these days i can happily reread what i have written and i have adopted this as my ‘standard’ for better blogging. With two caveats of course,
– i may be becoming less discerning with age,
– delusion has its own certainty (that’s a sentence i’m particularly proud of).
There is a line of sorts to be drawn between creative blogs and reporting blogs – in the degree of creativity rather than its absence. Blogs telling you how to bake, cook, build a house are more practical than creative – its in the balance. Writing anything still requires creativity.
I met a friend for breakfast recently, our circle of friends refer to her as ‘the creative one’, though many of them too work in creative fields. She’s just that bit different. As i waited for her in my favourite cafe, there seems to be a creativity vs punctuality balance in the universe, i was playing around, messing, with the menu, salt cellar, napkin on my table. In came my friend, set down, tidied my table but not in any ordinary way, no, she created a work of art right there in front of me, on a small cafe table, unconsciously. If the universe could speak, could vote on how the contents of my table should be arranged, it would vote for the work of art now in front of me. “How do you do that?”, i demanded and she shrugged artlessly.
We discussed the creative power, writing, painting, blogging even and she sounded like a teacher from my philosophy class at the school of practical philosophy. “The creative process“, she declared, “is a tapping into that inner core, that stillness which exists in all of us, that centre. And practice improves that tapping. Ultimately, that’s all there is to it. But you can’t just dive in now and again seeking that perfect sentence, you have to practice. All artists practice, great artists practice more.”
I understood then that creativity, like stillness, like a philosophical way of life, requires practice and remembered a favourite instruction from my Professor of Geology in Galway University, advising me on my post-graduate work. “Put the work in”, he would say, “spend time with the rocks, study them and they will tell you their story.”
And even though Advaita philosophy tells us that our cores are as one, because we access it through our individuality, the results of our creativity differ, vary across an enormous spectrum. Added to that of course are different backgrounds, different presents, different objectives, different intentions, different degrees of settling for what is considered enough, enough progress, enough development, close enough to that final inch.
I understood then, too, how i can write sometimes of things i do not even understand, have not yet comprehended, how my writings are often, usually even, wiser than i am in practice; thats the tapping of the core you see. That explains too how flawed individuals can produce almost perfect art, it is produced through them rather than of them.
“I have to go”, my friend declared, realizing she was late. “My twist”, i reminded her and she turned at the door and blowing me a kiss across the crowded cafe, added for good measure, “its a personal process, you have to expose yourself, be personal but don’t take it so”, and she was gone again.
Keep practicing my friends,