Shefaly points me to this good post by Usha Vaidyanathan, which covers a similar tangent. The valid points raised there, taken together with that discussion on blogging and writing, leads to some interesting conclusions.
Such as, while some writers may also be bloggers, it's not necessarily true in reverse. Neither, I would add, is it a given that all writers can be bloggers, or that no blogger can be a writer. It is possible that people can bridge, or even overcome, the gaps that separate the two activities.
It is interesting how similar they can be, and how dissimilar.
Both demand a certain discipline of regularity. Both allow you to explore themes and ideas and voices with widespread freedom. Both are intensely individualistic activities, and hold an element of suprise for the giver and the receiver as to what will come next.
Because it so much more personal, so much more free-form. And so much more time-dependent. We all know the feeling - miss a few days of following other blogs, and you're saddled with scores of posts to read, and comments to go through.
And in this sense, blogging resembles not so much editorial and comment-pieces, but conversations you have in the college canteen. With people going on about whatever little or major thing that happened to them in the last day, and commenting about the latest news in the world, all in ever-fluid groupings formed of mutual interest.
And just like in college, it's possible to just drift into these conversations, and find yourselves a few months later intrinsically embedded in them. And some day, some people just up and leave, because they find other things to do, or their honours classes leave them no time to indulge in chatter.
And this is why (I feel) some people create blogs, post for a while, and then go off. Because they've fulfilled whatever need it was that made them start it in the first place, or because they realise they've exhausted whatever benefit they could get from it, or because they just got inundated with other things to do.
I've tried to convince myself that the above sort of activity isn't 'real' Blogging.
I've tried to believe that there's some sort of an ideal, where the blogger is devoted to the cause, and doesn't just start a blog and maintain it because "it's there", but rather because it is something they want to, or need to, do. A person who doesn't just blog just so they can tick it off the labels they attach to themselves, or as a conversation-piece, or to add to their resume - but because it is something who they believe themselves to be. Who uses the medium to enhance themselves, and guide others, and forge an existing idea into something new. Who doesn't stop posting and say it's because of "real-life".
Somebody who chooses to say "I am a blogger", rather than "I also blog".
But, I'm not convinced.
Or rather, I'm not convinced that's all that blogging is. Because it can be an additional activity that one does, alongside one's guitar-playing and book-reading and marathon-running. It can be something you just come back to occasionally. It can be something you take part in, as an extension of your other activities, without considering it to be anything more than another medium of expression. It can be something you turn to because you need it then, and something you move on from, once you've had your say and done your thing.
This is probably not very illuminating, but then, I'm thinking aloud - and that's what blogging is too.
And perhaps, trying to define Blogging, or blogging, is just a futile exercise, because there are as many forms of it as there are the people who do it.