7-Year Anniversary Post: How This Blog Changed My Brain

You may notice that the subheading for this blog is ‘thoughts I do not want to keep in my head’ (if you do not notice it, examine what the top of the browser says). This is related to one of the reasons I started this blog seven years ago.

Yes, I started this blog exactly seven years ago. This is a bloggerversary post.

Seven years ago, I was aware that my internal monologue – the constant stream of words I say to myself in my mind – was very active, and I thought it would be nice if it would be less active. I thought, maybe if I started a blog and wrote down some of these ideas which preoccupied my internal monologue, I would be able to let go of some of these thoughts, and my mind would become less verbose.

It did not work out that way.

My mind is just as chatty today as it was seven years ago. If anything, trying to focus my thoughts enough to write blog posts stimulates even more thought, and thoughts which seven years ago may not have formed into words, or at least not full sentences, are now giving speeches at the podium in my mind.

The change that happened is not that my internal monologue became quieter. The change that happened is that my internal monologue became more organized.

I find myself thinking about my own thoughts in a more critical way. I think more about how I can phrase my thoughts so that others could understand them, or how I could arrange them to be more persuasive, and so forth. Even when I am thinking about a topic that I have no intention of blogging about, I find myself thinking about it in a more intellectually rigorous manner.

I also question my own thoughts more. There have been enough instances when I published something on this blog, and found out that I was wrong, that I have become more careful of doing fact-checking before I post things about this blog. In turn, that means there have been more blog post drafts which have been abandoned because my fact-check revealed that what I was thinking was not as based on reality as I had previously assumed (you do not want to know what is in my graveyard of abandoned blog post drafts. Or maybe you do want to know, but ~I~ do not want you to know). In turn, that means I find myself questioning why I think x about y, and whether the foundation of knowledge that those thoughts rely on is as solid as I think it is.

Maybe questioning myself more means that I put more effort into correcting myself and thus my thoughts have a closer relationship to reality than they did before. But I do not know how to measure whether or not this is the case.

So keeping a weekly blog for seven years has changed the way I think, but not in the way I was hoping for. I’m not too disappointed because, even when I started this blog, I knew I might not quiet down my internal monologue, and I was prepared to accept failure on that front.

It does freak me out a bit that this blog has had such a discernible effect on the way I think. The effect may not have been discernible in the first year or two, but I can definitely feel the effect now. What if I hadn’t started this blog? Would my thinking patterns still be essentially the same as they were seven years ago, or would they changed just as much, but in a different way? I suppose it is a good thing that our ways of thinking are malleable, but feeling how such a simple thing as blogging on a regular basis can have such an effect also leaves me a little uncomfortable.

Ah, that’s enough navel-gazing. Thank you for reading, whether you are a reader who found this blog as soon as it was created and have been following it ever since, or you are a reader who just dropped in for one post.

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6 thoughts on “7-Year Anniversary Post: How This Blog Changed My Brain

  1. I feel like a blog is the best way to maintain any sort of intellectual interest that most people don’t care about or aren’t even aware of. I’m not sure I could have ever spent so much time researching e.g. modal logic, if I didn’t think there was anyone I could ever share that with. But it’s not so much for venting thoughts, it’s for cultivating thoughts on unusual subjects.

    One thing that I do think is true, is that blogging makes me less inclined to argue with people offline. I just have a better platform for arguing readily available to me.

    • I don’t think blogging has influenced my inclination to argue offline. If anything, blogging may have made me more opinionated, which may slightly increase my propensity to argue offline.

  2. congratulations!

    [by the way, the first sentences of the 1st and 5th paragraphs have typos. Less navel-gazing, more editing! I kid.]

    an odd thing is that I stopped getting mail notifications of your blog posts in November. I just realized this today, thinking, hey, what’s up with “notes that do not fit”? I hope she’s ok… This was just after reading a blog post on hiking in California and bears, black and grizzly 🙂

    I stopped getting notifications because for some reason Google/Gmail decided they were no longer “Important”, so they ended up in my “Not so important” part of the Inbox, which is almost like spam. This is what happens when you let Google decide things for you. Sigh.

    Anyway a late happy blogversary to you from an admiring reader, and I have some catch up reading to do 🙂

    • Thanks!

      I prefer to keep track of blogs via RSS rather than email notifications, but Firefox recently stopped supporting RSS, and I haven’t gotten around to choosing an alternative RSS reader, so I’ve also had trouble keeping track of blogs lately.

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