“In journeys at sea that took place before radio or radar or satellites or sonar… [logs] helped navigators surmise where they were and how far they had traveled and how much longer they had to stay at sea.” ~ Andrew Sullivan, “Why I Blog”

Why do we blog?

Andrew Sullivan answered this question in a 2008 Atlantic article in which he began by discussing the original of the word “blog” and its similarity to a ship’s log:

“As you read a log, you have the curious sense of moving backward in time as you move forward in pages—the opposite of a book. As you piece together a narrative that was never intended as one, it seems—and is—more truthful. Logs, in this sense, were a form of human self-correction. They amended for hindsight, for the ways in which human beings order and tidy and construct the story of their lives as they look back on them. Logs require a letting-go of narrative because they do not allow for a knowledge of the ending. So they have plot as well as dramatic irony—the reader will know the ending before the writer did.

Anyone who has blogged his thoughts for an extended time will recognize this world. We bloggers have scant opportunity to collect our thoughts, to wait until events have settled and a clear pattern emerges.” Read more

When I first read Sullivan’s piece several months ago, it changed my relationship to blogging. A blog’s value for the blogger often lies in its inherent imperfection and “letting-go,” in its day to day immediacy.

For example, even in a very busy month like this one, the A to Z Challenge is a way for me to think throughout the day of how a specific letter of the alphabet relates to the rest of my life. However long or short the resulting post (and even if I fall a day behind), it is a record of those thoughts, of where I am at this moment.


WThis post is part of the April A to Z Blog Challenge. For more on my 2016 theme of Private Revolution, see A Is for Ambition. Click here to read all posts in the Private Revolution A to Z Challenge blog series.