The Limits Of Blogging

I have to agree with Ross:

The flip side of this is that blogging is the enemy of literary craft and intellectual depth. Arguments over tax policy and the proper interpretation of Knocked Up find a natural home in the blogosphere; attempts write a great novel or compose a paradigm-shifting philosophical treatise do not. If you want to be the next George Will or Paul Krugman, you'd be well-served to take up blogging now, because it'll make you a better pundit. If you want to be the next Ian McEwan or Philip Roth, or the next Alasdair McIntyre or Richard Rorty, I'd advise you to rip your internet cable out of the wall now, before it's too late.

The kind of brain activity that permits one to post two dozen items a day, keep track of countless more, and surf endless online reports and ideas and spats, is not conducive to also producing a long or reflective or deep work of philosophy or fiction or history or poetry. Even if you find the time, your mind cannot adjust that quickly. In retrospect, writing a book of political philosophy while blogging nearly cost me as many t-cells as brain cells. So why am I still here? Because the medium itself is worth pioneering, and in my eighth year of daily blogging, I've decided to give in to the impulse and take it where it wants to go. This kind of innovation only happens once in the lifetime of a writer, and to be there at the creation is too good an opportunity to miss. I keep telling myself that at some point, I'll retire from all this, drag my poetry and philosophy and history tomes back from the shelf and think some more, and write, you know, maybe a long, well-researched article a year or a book every five years. And let myself have an unpublished or unexpressed thought, or allow it to gestate for a while, or simply kick it around in my head before kicking it around in pixels.

But the lure of tens of thousands of daily readers, many of whom know much more about any particular subject than I do, is irresistible. And I'm lucky. I'd already been given the chance to edit a magazine before blogging was born. And I'd written two books. And the collective intelligence - what Reihan calls the hive mind - of, say, Dish readers creates something new in the history of opining. So I'm pursuing intimations again. Until the siren song of an attempt at permanence calls.