This is a post about posting.

When you sign up for an account or publish a post WordPress (which is free, and has been very kind to me, both things which I can appreciate), it helpfully gives you a screen that looks like this

With the help of WordPress, you will never be out of ideas!

As you can see, WordPress has so considerately made suggestions of topics on which you can promptly start a new post. Here’s the thing: why would you make an account at WordPress if you didn’t already have ideas on which you want to write? Why would you need to be prompted to write on WordPress? After all, you’re neither a) getting a writing assignment as part of your homework, nor b) getting a writing assignment as part of your job. Isn’t blogging done a) voluntarily, and b) for free? Who is saying to themselves, “jeez, I really want to write a blog post, but the thing that’s keeping me from that is having a topic. Won’t somebody help me?”?

Is WordPress practicing some kind of supply-side economics?  Does it think that all of us (or at least most of us) will be better off if there were more blog posts, more blog posts about sitting on buses, more information floating out on the Internet? Or, maybe WordPress is adopting my model of blogging: at least if the blog is crappy, nobody will read it, and so the costs for having created all this extra information is negligible/forgivable.

PS. If anything, I probably adopted WordPress’s idea, rather than the other way around.

PSS. Somehow, I feel very queasy about making the contrapositive of “if the writing is bad, no one will read it”, even though the statements are tautological.

PSS. Hey, another milestone! My first image in a post. OK, maybe it’s not a milestone. A centimeter-stone? mm?

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8 Responses to Meta-post

  1. Esa says:

    After much hemming and hawing, and a fair amount of anxiety I plunged into the Blogoshere. At the time I had a seemingly steady stream of words stored up, ready for posting. Then the inevitable happened, I dried up for a time, and the doubts about if what I was writing was any good. I still have those doubts, and always will.

    But I do think there are those of us that do need help from time to time when it comes to ideas, and I have noticed that some of the suggestion have been close to ideas I’ve had
    to write about. Thanks for your post.

    • teasandbooks says:

      Hi Esa!

      I have no doubt that WordPress’s suggestions can coincide with great ideas had by its bloggers. However, what I’m wondering is: absent the use of a blog as some sort of writing regiment, why would somebody feel the need to post something when, as you said, your ideas temporarily vacant your head for a sunnier location? Why not not write? Is it the pressure of readership? Is it some sort of vague self-imposed pressure? Do people approach writing like they do exercise, i.e. “I really should do it today even though my knees hurt and what I really feel like doing is having ice cream”? Or do people approach blogging like they do various forms of entertainment, i.e. “There’s nothing good on TV today, but I’ll still dedicate a fixed amount to time to watching it”? To phrase the question different, what percentage of bloggers are approaching blogging as a commitment device to force themselves to write?

      • Esa says:

        Hi Back!

        I never try to force a piece of writing, just for the sake of getting something on the blog every day. Though that is not to say that I don’t shudder when the space remains empty for too long. I still find that what I write is really for myself, and it may be that that is the secret.

  2. I have wondered the exact same thing! The title of my blog is “A Fine Day For an Epiphany” and someone asked me when I started, “What if you don’t have an epiphany that day?” (I only post on Tuesdays) and I thought, “Clearly you aren’t a writer! I can write because I force myself to write if I need to. Plus, I can always fake epiphanies!”

  3. Geetanjali says:

    A very thought provoking post. It got me thinking of the reasons I was blogging. I blog because I want to blog. But not because I have anything to blog about really. I just like writing. And I keep reading that writers have to force themselves to begin writing. It helps get the creative juices flowing, or something like that. So in that way I think it’s an exercise.

    It’s also one time where you can talk talk talk without having to break for an interruption. And only once you’re done saying what you have to say other people get to give feedback, unlike spoken conversations. So I think it’s a place where people can talk about themselves and their interests (like in a diary) without it having to be a constant two way thing. It’s probably something like your own private therapy. Plus you get feedback! Or else it’s a very private personal therapy.

    I also think that these prompts help develop your writing skills in the sense that you get practice in expressing yourself better. And regardless of what some people think, I think that everyone likes to have their views expressed. I can relate to wanting to say something but not knowing how.

    I hope what I’m saying makes sense. I also hope it answers a few of the questions you’ve brought up in your post.

    • teasandbooks says:

      And only once you’re done saying what you have to say other people get to give feedback, unlike spoken conversations.

      Wait, did I understand you correctly? Are you saying that verbal communications, spoken conversations don’t allow for a back-and-forth? If anything, I would’ve thought face-to-face, verbal dialogue allows for more, well, dialogue? Maybe that’s only because my blog is reader-scarce. 🙂

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