Wednesday, March 16, 2011


I'm trying to get feedback on my blog. You can read the post, which will eventually direct you to this survey link, or if you don't want to read the post, you can click it directly. I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

Now that my blog has been going for a few months, I thought I'd use this space to talk about some housekeeping issues related to it. (This post is not, unfortunately, a review of the Marilynne Robinson novel of the same name, though that could come this year--it's on my list.)

First of all, I have to consider the question, why blog at all? Abby mentioned to me early on--and she's right--that the most successful blogs typically choose a single theme and stick with it. So, if I know this and am obviously not choosing to do this, what does this mean? Do I not care about success? Is success measured differently than in terms of numbers, and if so, how can it be achieved?

I'll answer this question with a confession: the purpose of this blog is narcissistic, mostly. I write this blog for me. I'm glad that I've had people visiting the blog, reading the posts, and commenting on them, but the primary purpose of this blog is to practice the craft of writing, or at least, to clear my brain of all the stuff that prevents me from practicing the craft of writing. (This has not borne fruit as yet, but I'm hopeful.)

The primary outlet for this is reviews, which is why there are so many on this site. I find that writing reviews is an excellent way to dissect the world, to parse my feelings on any given subject. It's also helpful for my line of work (editing) in which it's not good enough to say, "This sounds better," or, "This doesn't work." Authors and other editors want to know the why behind it. Review writing is a way for me to organize my thoughts, to dig deeper than the adjectives good and bad and to say something meaningful (at least, this is the goal). I've also been called a raver--an accusation I don't deny--and ravers like to talk about what they like. You can compare this to Oprah's favorite things, though without the corporate backing, "free" stuff, and large tax penalties.

I don't choose a single theme because I don't want to limit my interests. I like lots of things, and I would like to write about lots of things. So, this blog is for me...mostly. But why would a blog, short for "web log," be just for one person? Why go out of my way to place in a public forum something that is private, that is, just for me? Well, the truth of the matter is that this isn't just for me. Yes, this blog's main purpose is for me to practice the craft of writing, but there are other goals as well. (No one who checks his Google stats regularly can honestly deny that having others read the blog is important.)

One goal is to facilitate the exchange of ideas. I am so grateful for my blog readers who frequently call me out when I haven't thought something through properly or who give me another perspective I hadn't thought of. I appreciate this, and that's why I try to moderate and respond to the comments posted on the blog. If you posted a comment, chances are good that I've responded to it, and I'd love to continue the discussion in the comments section. (If you want to be notified when a new comment is added, you can click on the "subscribe by e-mail" link under the comment box. I'm notified by e-mail when a new comment is added; that's how I'm able to keep up.)

To that end (facilitating the exchange of ideas), I've put together a survey that will help me as I consider how to move forward with this blog. I would appreciate it if you'd take a few minutes and fill it out. Seriously, it's five questions and very low commitment, and it would really help me out. And besides, it's anonymous: you can say whatever you like, and I probably won't be able to figure out who you are. Please, help me out. Take the survey. Here's the link.


  1. I don't think through writing - but writing helps me to organize the thoughts that I do have in a coherent and orderly manner.

    I guess I'll even fill out your survery.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Matt. I agree--writing is an excellent way to help organize thoughts. That's why, with the few sermons I've preached, I've written them down in full to keep me from too many tangents.