As a ship’s voyage progressed, the course came to be marked down in a book that was called a log. ~ Andrew Sullivan, "Why I Blog," The Atlantic (November 2008)I came across this article by Andrew Sullivan a couple of weeks ago, and it inspired me to think about why I blog. As Sullivan points out, a blog is different from other types of writing in that it is published in real time, without significant editorial review. It is a journal that the writer shares with the public. But if it is a personal journal, why share it?
I came to write my blog because my husband and I benefited from reading foreign service blogs during our application process. Deciding to join the service is an intimidating endeavor, and from these blogs we gathered valuable information about what it's like to actually be in the foreign service.
After I started writing, I learned that blogging about the experience was helping me process the whirlwind of change that goes along with this journey. But because it's available to the public, a blog is not a journal. As a therapist I recommended journaling to clients as a coping tool--a safe place to vent and process strong emotions. Journaling is effective as a therapeutic tool, but blogging serves a different purpose.
In "Why I Blog," Sullivan writes that ships' logs were "an indispensable source for recording what actually happened." I have found that writing a blog helps me live in the moment. Having a blog forces me to live consciously--to pay attention to what is happening. Otherwise I'd have nothing to write about.
So I thank the blog authors whose blogs helped me make the decision to join the foreign service, and I thank myself for having the courage to share a bit of my life with the public. I am also grateful to the foreign service blogging community--in writing about your experiences you lessen the burden for all of us, because even if we are frustrated with what is happening, it's nice to know that we're not alone.