The blog journal has been crucial in the development of my practice at a personal and professional level. I started the blog never having consistently kept a journal of any kind. It soon became clear how important it is in fostering new ideas and creating a coherent narrative. The journal has facilitated my navigation through the complexity of my practice and will continue to do so long after the MA. The voice that I have developed during this time is coherent enough for me to use in different contexts without it losing its integrity.
My commitment to the course has meant that I have consistently kept the journal to a far greater extent than I would have done before starting. I have written over three hundred posts, each one carefully reflected on. Over the sixty weeks of the MA, this averages out at three per week with a little under one hundred and forty thousand words. There are many things I have written that need rethinking. This in itself is a useful exercise. There are also posts that offer a rich source for future work. They are rudimentary and need to be edited and developed but the important thing is that they are there: the nature of this blog has been to record thoughts and ideas in the moment. And I am surprised at some of the entries.
I have experimented with different styles and voices from verse to prose, from notes to more formal writing. But despite the variety of forms, there are underlying characteristics and interests that come through, giving the whole some sort of holistic structure. When I look back at early entries and how the posts have developed in time, I can see the emergence of something coherent, flexible, that can continue to move and breath: that is why Jonathan refers to the blog as a living document. The blog reconstruction after the serious loss of its database has also sharpened the vision of this journey and helped draw a trajectory that has enabled me to figure out ways forward. I have gained an insight into the profound changes that have taken place in my thoughts. This has not only given rise to a cogent methodology but also a clearer view of contextual ecology in which I find myself and what I want from it.
The blog is an instrument I never considered as powerful as it has turned out to be. Sketchbooks and written diaries have never been for me. Digital technology has provided a means of recording more congenial to my personality and the external structure of the MA has given me the framework in which to keep a blog journal consistently. Assessment, conversations, competition, knowledge, collaborations are all part of this. As this structure falls away, a life long habit has been formed. The blog has become an important, permanent part of my practice.
Finally, as an afterthought but a very important one, is the knowledge that someone will read posts and that that person or persons will be curious and critical of what they might find. This public exposure inevitably will have had a sharpening effect on my writing skills despite the blog being an informal sketch come notebook.