This post is part of a prompt from my fellow Mid-Atlantic beer bloggers. The idea is to get introspective, take some time as we hide under blankets from winter’s chill to think about how blogging (or writing about beer in general) has changed, or influenced, or mangled our relationship with the beer itself.
I’m going to argue that this blog hasn’t changed my relationship with beer.
It has changed my relationship with everything.
When talking writing, blogging, or any unpaid word mining and sentence smithing, the same question always seems to sneak out: why do it? Why spend so many hours, so much energy, keeping a digital journal of your thoughts and stories? It’s a legitimate query, and one that doesn’t always have a good answer. Blogging (well) involves more work than most people realize, and unless you win the internet lottery and ride the viral train to hits-town, there’s often very little return on investment (especially if you’re measuring said ROI in actual dollars).
So if not for fame or fortune, why? Writing can be its own reward, a cathartic outlet, a salvage yard for ideas not meant for commercial consumption. But there’s more, something fundamental, something formative in creating and curating your own online space.
Like a symbiotic organism attached to your parietal lobe, your blog alters your brain chemistry, slowly changing how you view the world. Experiences aren’t just one-offs anymore, they’re potential stories, or lessons, or photo-ops. The blog nudges you, encourages you, reminds you to dig deeper, to pull as much viscera from the everyday as you can without killing the poor thing. As it grows, you grow, teaching you just as much as you’ve taught it. The jumble of HTML and CSS behind a URL is more than just the sum of its pages, of its posts. It becomes an extension of you, a tangible and important aspect of your life like a digital pet who needs your love and attention.
Long car ride chats about sociology and philosophy lead to Eurekas and light bulbs, followed shortly thereafter by the powerful declarative, “that’s a blog post.” Simple conversations with new friends offer new perspectives. The blog overhears and records, for later use. After some time it takes partial control of your eyes, showing you details overlooked before, angles and blind spots obscured by privilege or naivety. Given more time it moves to your ears, filtering, noticing, listening for what matters in a multimedia cacophony of what doesn’t. Eventually, even your mouth will succumb, asking questions the blog wants answered, promoting, teaching, rambling at the behest of the ever-whirring gizmo inside your mind.
Running this blog rewired my brain. Rejected the old reality and injected a new one. It made me more attentive, more detail-focused, more interested in the whys and whos behind the whats, because the blog is picky, and will only eat the finest of meaty knowledge.
So of course, despite my earlier statement, this blog has changed my relationship with beer. But not only beer, and not because that’s what I write about most often. It changed the relationship with the drink because it changed me, forced me to see the poetry in the prosaic, the delicate dance happening between hop and water and malt. Beer is just a medium; it could have been anything. It just so happens I really like fermentation. The blog found the beer, not the other way around.
So why blog? Because it gives you a reason, a catalyst, to take a different look at the world. You do it for the constant creative companion to your inevitable individual evolution. You don’t run a personal blog for celebrity or cash (although if you’re lucky those things may come in time), you do it for you, to mature, to teach yourself, to grow.
Scroll yet further southward for the other posts on this prompt:
- Josh from Short on Beer: Beer blogging has ______ my relationship with beer.
- Douglas from Baltimore Bistros & Beer: Beer Blogging and My Relationship With Beer
- Bryan from This Is Why I’m Drunk: It’s My Relationship and I Can Cry if I Want To
- Jake from Hipster Brewfus: Verbose Validation of Verbage
- Liz from Naptown Pint – Which came first, the beer or the blogging?