The Blogging Process: It’s more complicated than I first suspected

By | July 7, 2007

Having been blogging almost daily since late 2006, I am beginning to understand what I used to teach as a writing teacher to my students from a new perspective: good blogging is a recursive process, not a product oriented approach.

Let me explain: in our world, we are all obsessed with the final products that we see all around us. Books in bookshops have covers, neatly printed pages, indexes, etc.. Magazines in newsstands are glossy, full of great pictures, well-written and relevant stories. It seems that the articles are all ‘finished’, and that because they look finished, we assume that they must have always been that way. In other words, to borrow an allusion to biblical fundamentalists (with apologies), that the words were somehow ‘breathed out’ by the authors (as opposed to the Author) in a final form right onto the page, and then were published ‘as-is’. That is how it so often ‘appears’ to bystanders. With the advent of blogging technology, it appears even more so that way: words are typed into the blog interface directly, bloggers hit ‘publish’ and that’s it. Except that’s not ‘it’.

In fact, it is rarely the case that a piece of writing is delivered ‘as-is’. Many of my writings have gone through a number of discrete stages before I hit ‘publish’, and in some cases, have gone repeatedly through some stages, and are still sitting in my publish queue because they are not ready. Recursive writing means exactly that. That as we write, we develop more and more clarity about the subject of our writing, whether the individual post, the series of posts, or even the whole blog. That clarity, whether it focuses on content or form, allows us to recreate and reinterpret the earlier writing for greater clarity. That process of writing, rewriting, and editing can be gone through many times before publishing a post.

So, if you have lots of posts sitting in your queue, don’t worry. This is natural: some posts are still at the concept stage, some are still at the writing stage, some are being edited and/or rewritten. Perhaps one or two are even nearly done, just waiting an opportune time.

How do you handle your posting? Do you write stream of conscious or do you rewrite a lot?

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