I'm in the middle of Creative Nonfiction: Researching and Crafting Stories of Real Life by Philip Gerard, a mercifully short and informative survey on writing as a craft. I've been blogging for a couple of years now and feel a sudden urge to figure out just what the heck I'm doing here. The writing, I mean. Blogging is nothing more than a steady, open-ended writing project that, hopefully, some people read over your shoulder. You might define it differently, but never-ending writing project really doesn't sound like something to get excited about, yet some of us do. So what gives?
Sorry, I can't really get my hands around the question of why writing clicks. That's like asking Why art? or Why sailing? If you really have to ask, there's not much hope of grasping an explanation. Why blogging? It's cheaper than a sailboat and I can't draw.
Anyway, there's a section where the author describes the Short Form genres, basically the set types of article in the 500 to 6000 word range generally published in magazines. It helped me to see the range and diversity of short form writing that can be adapted to blogging, which is essentially self-publishing in abbreviated short form, say 100 to 500 words. I'm going to just list the genre categories he reviews (at p. 103-06) adapted, in some cases, to blogging terminology. Then, for fun, I'm going to find a prior post at DMI, BCC, or BT that more or less matches each genre. This is sort of a writer's workshop type of exercise, I suppose. Maybe you can post links in the comments if you have a couple of particularly good examples at your own blog.
- Idea Post - explores intellectual, philosophical, or doctrinal ground.
- Travel - destination piece or, more generally, any journey motif.
- Informational Post - documentary intro to a subject; a basic news story.
- How-to, Health, Fitness - a step-by-step guide to doing some task.
- Nature - relates nature, society, and human nature to the reader.
- Science/Tech - which includes techie computer and software subjects.
- Issue Post - explores any topical issue.
- Public Event - a public happening, like a conference.
- Political Analysis - plenty of that under the LDS umbrella these days.
- Investigative Exposé - here, tends to bubble up from historical sources.
- Review - critique of book or movie, a staple of my blog diet.
- Personality Profile - short, fluffy bio of known person, with quotes.
- Arranged Interview - Q&A or similar dialogue, with subject being the main speaker.
- Personal Essay - stresses first-person experience with reflective commentary.
- Memoir - memory in words, possibly of a significant historical event.
- Adventure - a dramatic, true-life story; think mission.
From paging through my archives, I would add a few more genre types that are somewhat unique to blogging:
- Source Link - link pointing to a worthwhile online essay or article
- Around the Blogs - quick review with links to recent posts.
- Letter - real or rhetorical.