Blogging Vs. Essay Writing

As a writer, I’ve long been averse to blogging. “I’m an essayist, not a blogger,” I would snobbishly think to myself. “If something is worth expressing, it is worth expressing with structure and craft.”

I love the art of the essay: the opening paragraph that seizes the reader by the forelock; the apt metaphor running through the piece like a binding thread; the comprehensive, mounting arguments that leave the reader with no choice but to be convinced; the literary flourishes (even the self-indulgent ones); revising a sentence again and again until it strikes me as the absolutely ideal way of expressing that idea; and most of all, the thought that hundreds, thousands, maybe tens of thousands, are reading me at my best, and perhaps fundamentally reconsidering the issue I’m covering.

On the other hand, when I think of blogging I think of sloppy, discursive, unstructured rants and “hot takes” shot from the hip. I cannot imagine such writing leaving a lasting impression or having an elevating impact on the reader.

And yet here I am, blogging. This is no essay. This is a relatively off-the-cuff quick note to convey a very simple message. What the hell am I thinking?

Well, I’ve come to believe that blogging might greatly aid my essay-writing. Once I’m in a groove, quality writing comes fast and easy for me. But, far more often than I like, it takes me a long time hammering away at an essay to get into a state of flow. That was okay when writing was only a side gig for me. If I’m only producing one essay per week, it’s okay if I stare at the screen for half a Sunday and then rapidly spin out an essay during the other half. But now that I’m trying to make it as a full-time freelance writer, such a process is unacceptable. Wrestling with writer’s block for half of every day is not only a drain on my income, but it’s terribly unpleasant.

Recently I noticed that after conversing with fellow libertarians for a while, I was able to sit down to write, bypass the initial writer’s block, and go directly into a writing groove. I suspect that expressing myself in an easy, free-form manner served as an intellectual warm-up that made it easy to transition into more careful expression. I start my day too early to chat with people every day before I start writing. But I’m hoping that the less-demanding format of blogging might similarly help me ramp up more smoothly and quickly into my daily essay-writing.

So, that’s why, starting with this post, I’ll try to blog daily. On any given day, I might again write about writing, or about the news, ethics, political philosophy, economics, libertarian strategy, parenting, self-improvement, etc. Often I’ll have a point or a connection that I’ve been wanting to make, but I don’t yet have an idea for a full-blown essay in which I could include it. Blogging should be good for those, too.

I hope that these posts will not only aid me, but be interesting to you. Thanks for reading!


Dan Sanchez is a contributing editor at Antiwar.com and an independent journalist for TheAntiMedia.org. Follow him via Twitter, Facebook, or TinyLetter.