Thinking allowed — 29 September 2009

Sitting in my garret chewing the end of my proverbial pencil composing this post for your erudition, it occurred to me that electric ink has empowered all us wannabee authors. With the passing of the brilliant columnist and author Keith Waterhouse recently, he who rejected all electronic devices to write and used a trusty manual typewriter, it’s time to look at the digital revolution which has enabled amateurs to publish their work.

A blog (a contraction of the term ‘weblog’) is credited as being started by Bruce Ableson who launched Open Diary in October 1998, which soon grew to thousands of online diaries. Open Diary was innovative, inventing the first blog community where readers could add comments to other writers’ blog entries.

Why blog? As a London cab driver I spend an unhealthy amount of time on my own, in a space smaller than a telephone box. The mental exercise of writing posts keeps me sane and I also enjoy the creativity of designing a website. In my cab I have ample time to ruminate on London’s shortcomings and virtues, which I hope to share with you, dear reader.

I’ve started reading Claire Tomalin’s Samuel Pepys The Unequalled Self a biography of the great diarist who wrote with astounding candour and perceptiveness in the 10 years from 1660 at a time when England was undergoing momentous changes.

Do you fancy yourself as a 21st century Samuel Pepys and want to start writing or are you happy to be one of the 98 per cent of web surfers who are just voyeurs and not publishers?

If you want to join the Band of Bloggers I recommend Matthew Stibbe’s Bad Language to get you started with some sound advice and Neil Patel, Quick Sprout who’s so prolific a writer on all things blogging I wonder if he ever sleeps.

A quotation attributed to Robert Louis Stevenson author of Treasure Island sums up the desire to blog perfectly: ‘I don’t enjoy writing, I enjoy having written.’

Oh! And thanks for taking the time to read CabbieBlog.

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