Two years ago, my knowledge of blogs didn’t go beyond the incident involving an airline attendant, who angered her superiors by revealing less flattering skies of commercial air travel in her popular semi-fictitious blog. Then, several months ago, a prominent lecturer at my university faced heavy criticism for keeping a blog about the on-goings of campus life, all of which was simply an overreaction on the part of our Big Brother administration regarding his refusal to ‘sell the school via Powerpoint’ at the annual Open Day. My serious interest in blogging, however, came at the beginning of this month when I found that despite all the things I was doing to occupy my time, I was left with this need to express myself, and to no one or about nothing specific. Though I tend to set pretty specific, work-oriented goals in the summer which some friends find odd if not sadistic, I still need a break from those things to keep myself going and uphold a sense of ‘productivity’. Thus I set out to start this blog along with Express Checkout to help momentarily divert my attention from my every-day activities, to write about whatever I wanted in a non-DearDiaryblahblah-way.
So far, this blog in particular has served its purpose as another outlet to maintain an ‘author’s voice’, which really helps when I’m trying to write a book about my past. And sometimes it doesn’t hurt to showcase some artwork so that I don’t forget what else it is that I do besides the ordinary. ExC, on the other hand, has become particularly useful because it’s allowed me to re-examine current events in closer detail, forcing me to shed the apathetic skin I’ve long adopted since becoming fed up with IR, politics, and human beings in general. Now I find myself digging out my history books and re-reading some of the things that I was very much incorrectly taught back at school. And I’ve since found that blogging, in itself, can really take up a lot of focus especially whenever you want to get away from some of that other stuff, and has now become a sort of refuge, which I didn’t at all expect. I’m even finding myself wondering if I could somehow make a living out of doing this, like if there’s such a thing as a professional blogger…and what qualification would be needed if possible?
What I’ve found most fascinating about the whole affair, though, is that blogging is a lot like therapy, only with a wider audience sitting in that comfy chair on the other side of the room. And it may very well be for this specific reason that I’m growing rather fond of it. Because instead of scheduling that extortionately expensive weekly visit to have one hour to the precise second to dig up the past and look at it from all mind-contorting angles and perhaps not uncover anything at all, you instead write on a whim, from the comfort of your own home, about whatever strikes your fancy for however long a period of time you want or need. No money paid, no time lost, and it’s interesting because there’s something inherently laid-back about it all, and yet somehow you want to make it worthwhile so that people choose to read it. I do admit I check the blog stats from time to time, to see which posts get the most response to gauge readers’ interests and write accordingly. And that’s very much like therapy in that it’s self-affirming and makes you feel less ‘alone’ with your thoughts and concerns. You therefore modify certain approaches as a result in order to maximize the benefits of a public ‘reception’.
Like the recent study showing that music has countless healing benefits for hospital patients, I sincerely think that blogging may have positive psychosomatic benefits as well. Perhaps if all people were given the encouragement to start a blog and spend an hour a day just sharing whatever they’d like to share, modern-day society would become a little more people-friendly. Of course there’s always the ordinary shrink session or pad-locked journal, but what makes this distinctly different is that you know it’ll be in the sight of a wider audience, and that appeals to the ego in us all, I think. Somehow in my mind, blogging strikes me as being a potentially positive contribution to others if at least one person out there benefits from it by smiling about something you write or thinking about a new issue that you’ve given mention to. I’ve come accross several blogs that have impacted me in this way.
I’ve spent the last year making some important decisions about where to live, what to study, how to finance myself while recovering from an illness, and in some ways I feel I’ve grown wiser, even if just slightly. Maintaining some regular stream of thought in my mind helps me uphold this new structure in my young-adult life, and blogging is helping to do that. I learn a lot of information on my own regularly, but this forces me to be constructive with it. It’s almost the same relationship that children have with toys: the blog can be the grown-up’s toy, cultivating the creative thought process and the usually under-estimated power of imagination. And maybe, like a toy, I’ll eventually grow tired of it all and stop writing. But I suppose, as it is in therapy, that’s the fundamental principle determining the length of the blog-blogger relationship. And until the benefits of writing have been exhausted, this blog will surely live on.
To start your own blog, go to WordPress.com to register for a free account, and you’ll soon be on your way!
Sarah Badr © MMVI