Well, I’ve been asked this question a couple of times. My reply’s always been in the negative but each and every time, the question has surely made me think. Why should I blog? Or rather why do people blog? Logic instantly provides the following answers:
- To air one’s opinions.
- To have a living identity online, which is more than a profile and less than a website.
- To solicit feedback or bounce thoughts off an open audience
Each time that I’ve thought about this, I couldn’t relate with any of these reasons enough to start blogging. But last week, I was discussing this with a friend at work. When I asked her the same question, the reply was something I could instantly identify with. She said writing maintaining a Blog is like maintaining a diary; you write to capture your thoughts and feelings. The only difference between the traditional diary and the new-age Blog is that a diary is private and a Blog essentially is public, though you could very well write some things and not make them public.
That made sense but it got me thinking on another level. The purpose of writing is to communicate, so then why do people write diaries? Anyone who’s ever maintained a diary would vouch for the fact that putting something down on paper relieves you instantly. Why is it so? Does it have something to do with the fact that when we’re carrying out a complex thinking process, we find that it helps to scribble on a paper or white board. People who design (mechanical parts or devices or software) often find that simple tools like a pen and a paper aid the thought process. More often that not, people don’t put down sentences or bullet points when they’re thinking, rather they draw shapes and diagrams.
Closer to the work area, we often see that when you get people into a room to brainstorm, a lot of interesting ideas come up. And brainstorming is most effective when everyone sticks by the thumb rule: when you get an idea, state it immediately, don’t validate and re-validate it. This may have something do with the fact that it’s the nature of creative ideas to pop up unexpected and not seem feasible at first sight. Once you stop questioning their feasibility, the approach starts becoming clearer. Probably, that’s why creative thinking is called thinking out-of-the-box. So, Writing or expressing yourself surely helps you think clearly.
Last month, I had the opportunity to attend Steve Bender’s Project Management Plus workshop. Once of the work-management techniques discussed in the workshop was a best practice of recording notes (whether in writing or talking to a Dictaphone) at the end of the day. You can then read/listen to previous day’s notes before you start your next day. This, according to Steve, helps on two accounts:
- It helps you download your thoughts before your get home. So you tend to stop thinking about work problems after you’ve downloaded them.
- Most of the time, when you’re persisting your mental state and reloading it the next morning, you get fresh ideas and solutions.
Another practice which works on the same lines is talking to someone about a problem, you feel light even if that someone has no idea of the complete picture. The person listening just has to be a good listener and the conversation almost always has a relieving effect on the person talking. The age old saying “Baat karne se dil ka bojh halka hota hai” (You tend to feel light if you talk to someone about a problem)So expression, it seems, in whatever form it manifests, helps you see things in perspective and aids clarity of thought. So I’m convinced now, ‘cos these things do make sense.
The Fat Man shall talk and maybe he’ll become lighter in the process :D!