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February 07, 2006

Why I Blog

From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-four I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books.

George Orwell

I think George Orwell and I have a lot in common.

Almost certainly not in terms of talent, and not always in terms of beliefs. But when it comes to working out what the hell to do with my life, Orwell's words make a lot of sense.

I'm still torn between going into broadcast and print journalism. Orwell did both, and while I'm definately going to train in broadcast, I can still see writing looming over me. My only consolation is that broadcast journalism still involves writing, albeit you then have to read those words out.

I definately agree with at least half of Orwell's reasons for writing. "Sheer egoism" is probably something that I can relate to – I wouldn't bother writing this blog entry if I didn't think someone was going to read it. I'm not sure about "aesthetic enthusiasm" – it's probably something I would like to be interested in, but I can't bring myself to 'flaff about' with the order of words, I prefer to just let them flow, which is why I rarely proof-read anything I write.

Again, I wouldn't be blogging if there wasn't an element of "historical impulse" inside me. Someone reading this tomorrow will still be reading something slightly historical, and I have to admit I like the idea of reading this again once I retire, looking back at the (probably) naive and idealistic views I held as a 21-year old.

And finally, I'm virtually obsessed with writing for a "political purpose". As Orwell said, everything containing a viewpoint is political in some way, and I would say that attempting to write without a political viewpoint, no matter how subtle, is both futile and worthless.

I don't expect to emulate Orwell himself, but I'll be happy if the majority of my writing isn't "lifeless…betrayed into purple passages, sentences without meaning, decorative adjectives and humbug generally."

All I need to do now is go and live rough in Paris for a bit.


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