Online Writing, Patronage, and The Evolution Of The Blog

I’ve been think a lot lately about the whole concept of this site, online writing (blogging) in the traditional sense, and the appropriateness of certain writing for certain venues.
This thinking has been spurred in no small part by two sources. First, the conversations that Gwen Bell has helped to start around these ideas. Secondly, as I’m in the editing process of taking some of this work you see here and turning it into a book.
Now the first is a highly interesting concept, Gwen (and others) have decided to completely wipe the slate clean. Erasing everything from the blog and starting first with rethinking the very idea of what a “blog” should be, what it should contain, the purpose that it serves, and why it should exist in the first place. Years and years of writing and other content gone from the Internet. Instead, Gwen, at least for the time being, is taking future short form writing (that which may have been a blog post) and making it available as a paid subscription based newsletter. For longer works and those curated around a theme, she is producing eBooks (The first of which, Digital Warriorship, is wonderful and well worth the cost).
One reason this is compelling to me is the idea of arts patronage. With a certain view, that is what is going on here. Gwen is asking those who wish to read her longer works to support the production of such with a financial commitment. This is not too far removed from the practice in times past of someone, wanting the custom work of a particular artist, agreeing to support them financially. This was not only in return for the final work but also to insure it’s production (you want to give the artist the freedom to produce without worry of where his next meal would come from). As a writer and, therefore, an artist, one should be able to readily see why I find interest in this.
Then, there is the personal journey I’m going through as I have collected many of the posts here, have sent them to a publisher and editor, and have been in the process of rearranging these pieces around themes to make a narrative whole. It is slowly becoming apparent that perhaps this work should have always been presented in the context of a book. That what you have read here over the years has simply been a rough draft for this final product. That perhaps, once released, those pieces (or even perhaps everything you see here) should be deleted from the blog format and only live on much more polished and only in the context of a collected and curated whole – a book.
Finally, this is all a greater part of my also asking what is the appropriate context for my art. I have discovered that much of what I write is often part of a larger narrative, one yet to be discovered even by myself at times, and should be presented as a book in it’s final form. Although each piece could stand on it’s own as a blog post, should it? I also think about patronage and if I could get a few people to pay for the privilege of having access to longer and deeper work, especially if it had the reward at the end of receiving a completed, edited and curated whole.
I don’t have any answers to these questions yet and have not made up mind to go any particular directions. That said, this partly explains why you have seen a slowdown in my production here and elsewhere and some of the ideas that are forming the basis of what will come next.