I think it’s great that you are planning to write such an article for Poets and Writers. I very strongly suggest that you make contact with Nick Piombino (of http://nickpiombino.blogspot.com, or fait accompli) before you start writing. He has emerged as the foremost theorist of po-bloggers yet. He’s also one of the most interesting blog-practitioners.
I was interested in your questions about blogging, because to tell you the truth, I ask myself those questions about blogging nearly every day. And nearly every day I come up with different answers. By extension, I ask myself the same questions about writing in general and also about living — but that of course is a road too long and involved to take here, in this comments box.
You ask: “What good is it?”
Questions of ultimate value are lost on me. I don’t know if it’s a good thing or not that my blog has caused me to generate some writing that I might otherwise have done. But in fact, it has. I’m not sure that blogging has been “good” for my writing. I’m not sure what writing, how much or what kind, I would have done had I not started a blog. But I will say this: I am a deeply impatient person. Blogs offer a kind of (admittedly limited) instant gratification in that I can make the writing public instantly. Whether anyone actually reads it or not is another matter.
What do you get out of it?
Mainly, it is amusing. It is also a place where I can engage with the notions (and obsessions) that are swimming around in my consciousness, the events in the world, and other people in a space that is not too strictly defined, not vetted by any gatekeepers, either peers or authorities, and that is capacious enough to be as ridiculous and trivial as it is grave and serious.
Has it changed your ideas about writing?
What’s weird about it?
I often feel that I am talking to myself (the blog’s motto for a while was “like shouting into a cistern!”), that I am not really part of a community here. I don’t think that’s objectively true, but rather a projection of a deeper sense of disconnection from others (or from “pure being”?) that is particularly easy to feel in a virtual environment.
The cyberworld has always been for me the site of both tremendous emotional gratification as well as neurosis; computers themselves have been both stimulating and injurious. There’s lots that’s weird about having a blog — not least the appearance of creepy anonymous commenters or out-of-nowhere flame wars.
In general, though, I think blogging is more fun than it is weird. And I read other people’s blogs *avidly*.
What misgivings do you have?
I wish I had waited to become a blogger until data entry gets to the point where we don’t actually have to type but can just think our thoughts onto the screen.
I have some misgivings that I don’t actually spend more time on my blog, making it into a real work of art and attentiveness instead of what I like to call a “magpie space” — but really this is all I have energy for.
Why do it?
I initially became a blogger because just about all poetry bloggers at the time were men. That didn’t seem right. I often disagree(d) with their poetics and opinions, and wanted my own territory where I could do so publicly, as well as articulate my own sensibilities.
I’m thrilled to see that now the poetry blogging world is fairly TEEMING with brilliant women.
May it continue to expand….