Hmm… Write or do the dishes?

As I sit here at work, having more than plenty of work to do yet still somehow reading and doodling about my blog (a blog which I have neglected for over a week now), I begin to reflect upon the words of Stephanie Trigg from the University of Melbourne. In her flash-article, “Blogging, Time and Displacement,” she meditates upon her blog, its periods of energy and rest, and upon her academic writing, explaining:

“We are most of us familiar with the fact that our kitchens and bathrooms are cleanest when there is most marking or grading to do, or that the only way to get around to making an appointment with the tax accountant is to wait until a deadline looms over the horizon. Blogging can certainly function in that way, to create the illusion that we do have time to spare, that we are not overwhelmed by the tremendous external pressures on us to complete other forms of reading and writing.” (934)

In other words, blogging is a type of “displacement activity” (934). However, as Trigg is quick to point out, this isn’t a bad thing – this is part of what makes blogging so useful to writers as it doesn’t detour them from writing but, rather, keeps them writing even as they attempt to actively avoid it. In other words, blogging becomes an activity like scratching one’s head or doing the dishes that enables the alleviation of stress by postponing certain tasks or decisions that an individual may simply not be ready to undertake. As Trigg phrases it, blogging enables us to send whatever issue(s) we’re struggling with “to a different part of the brain to percolate while we focus on something else,” something that is less stressful yet still an engaging form of reading, writing, and community-building (935).

Thus, while we may have dirtier kitchens because of blogging, while we may still be procrastinating in certain senses, for many writers, academics, and professionals, the act of engaging in blogging is also an important form of creative displacement and stress relief – a place to go while our inner interns work to put everything else back in a bit of order for us.

 

Stephanie Trigg, “Blogging, Time and Displacement,” Literature Compass 9.12 (2010): 933-937.

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