The days stack up.
Here’s what I wrote five years ago:
One little blog post is nothing on its own, but publish a thousand blog posts over a decade, and it turns into your life’s work. This blog has been my sketchbook, my studio, my gallery, my storefront, and my salon. Absolutely everything good that has happened in my career can be traced back in some way to this blog. My books, my art shows, my speaking gigs, some of my best friendships—they all exist because I have my own little piece of turf on the Internet.
I started this blog when I was 22 years old. I’m 37 now. Good grief.
Why keep blogging? For me, there are at least 3 good reasons:
1. To leave a trace.
Here’s what William Kentridge says in Six Drawing Lessons about why he thinks he makes art:
An insufficiency in the self, the need to be a snail, leaving a trail of yourself as you move through the world. Hansel, leaving a trail of crumbs to lead you home.
On a single post of this blog you’ll find a form of navigation known as “bread crumbs” and if you click here the hyperlink will take you to the blog’s “home” page.
This is my home online. It’s where you can find me. If you want to know me, knock on the door, and I’ll let you in.
2. To figure out what I have to say.
I made this point in Show Your Work! and elsewhere: I didn’t start a blog because I had something to say, I started a blog to find something to say.
Every time I start a new post, I never know for sure where it’s going to go. This is what writing and making art is all about: not having something to say, but finding out what you have to say. It’s thinking on the page or the screen or in whatever materials you manipulate. Blogging has taught me to embrace this kind of not-knowing in my other art and my writing.
Here’s how Marc Weidenbaum put it in his celebration of blogging on the twentieth anniversary of his blog, Disquiet.com:
Don’t leave writing to writers. Don’t delegate your area of interest and knowledge to people with stronger rhetorical resources. You’ll find your voice as you make your way. There is, however, one thing to learn from writers that non-writers don’t always understand. Most writers don’t write to express what they think. They write to figure out what they think. Writing is a process of discovery. Blogging is an essential tool toward meditating over an extended period of time on a subject you consider to be important.
That last line is worth repeating: “Blogging is an essential tool toward meditating over an extended period of time on a subject you consider to be important.”
In my case, a single post becomes two posts, and two posts birth a blog tag, and a blog tag often births a book chapter. (Or a whole book.)
3. Because I like it.
This doesn’t get said enough in this culture: You should do things because you like them, because they’re satisfying.
It is very easy to be disciplined when you like what you’re doing.
Blogging is very satisfying to me — even more satisfying, in many ways, than having a book in a bookstore or a page in a newspaper. If I have an idea or an image I want to riff on, I sit down for half an hour or an hour, and then I publish it where anyone can see it. Instant self-publishing. Instant gratification.
Yes, I think I’ll keep blogging, because I like it, and also because, as Van Morrison put it, “It’s too late to stop now!”
Thank you for reading.