Posted by Dan Lea
This is not my first go at blogging. Having completed my undergraduate degree fairly recently, I was required to blog regularly for a couple of classes. My first blog was a random collection of posts about communication in general. It was a chance to practice the mechanics of blogging, including embedding images, video, and other media, and it served the secondary purpose of forcing me to research a new communication topic each week. However, I can’t imagine anyone following that blog of their own accord.
My second blog project allowed me to pursue any subject I chose. I decided to do an interview format focused on community theatre entitled, “Dan the Theatre Man: On Enjoying and Excelling in Community Theatre.” In choosing a subject I had an interest in, I was able to apply some of the concepts outlined by Alex Reid in the article, “Why Blog? Searching for Writing on the Web.” I focused on a subject in which I had a strong personal interest and could speak about with reasonable authority, having participated in the craft for 35 years. I’m not sure my blog fulfilled the mission of showing an urgency to the subject matter or fulfilling an important and reasonable purpose, but I definitely achieved the “state of flow” described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, as I got lost in the writing. I aimed for 500 words, but often found myself wanting to write three times that length. My enthusiasm for the subject matter made for a readable blog. Thanks to shares from some of my interview subjects, I was able to reach as many as 500 readers for my top post.
I agree with Reid’s belief that having an outlet with complete freedom of choice makes writing more enjoyable, and the more students write, the better they will get. Creating your own blog is also a good exercise in defining a target audience.
Overall, I enjoyed the experience of creating my own blog and the exercise helped me hone my efficient writing skills, even after I had been writing broadcast materials for more than 25 years.