The effect of blogging on the Cicada rhythms

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WordPress directs us today to On Techies’ “Blog More. It’s Good for Your Health.

For scientific details, On Techies directs us to Scientific American’s Blogging–It’s Good for You: The therapeutic value of blogging becomes a focus of study.

The latter article cites research done by neurologist Alice W. Flaherty, author of The Midnight Disease, which was the subject of yesterday’s Tuesday Teaser. Despite the quotations I used–I displayed them because I liked them, not because they reflected content–the book reports serious scientific research. And it’s fascinating.

Flaherty, who studies hypergraphia and writer’s block, notes “‘that drives are involved [in blogging] because a lot of people do it compulsively,’… Also, blogging might trigger dopamine release, similar to stimulants like music, running and looking at art.”

The article also cites the work of University of Texas professor James Pennebaker, who for nearly twenty years has been studying the link between writing about personal emotional trauma and a strengthened immune system as well as an increased sense of well-being.

Now. Do I have to be told all this about writing? No. I’ve known about Dr. Pennebaker for years. I’ve known about Dr. Flaherty for years (fewer than about Dr. Pennebaker, but still years). I didn’t know about the finer points of the articles, but I believe what they say.

I question the part about blogging improving memory and sleep, because I tend to do my blogging between 10:00 p.m. and 2:00 a.m., and all that adds to is sleep deprivation. Nothing good comes of sleep deprivation, sleep debt, disordered sleep patterns, or messed up Cicada rhythms (to use my husband’s phraseology). I am a living example, and if you don’t believe me, you can look it up.

In addition, while I was blogging every day, I still spent a disgusting amount of time trying to remember why I’d opened the refrigerator.

But overall, I agree that blogging helps the blogger. When I posted daily, I had more energy–at least mentally–and I got more writing done. I had to produce a post a day, so I had to think. Even if I ended upĀ  inviting Emily Dickinson to guest, I had to find the appropriate poem and a photograph to go with it.

Having to think is not a bad thing.

Furthermore, I was more fluent. Pressure of a deadline required me to come up with a topic and the words to follow. Practice increased my ability to come up with more words, and faster.

What happens when I slack off? More slacking off.

What can I write about? I can’t think of anything to write about. If I don’t have to write today, I’ll leave it until tomorrow. Or the day after.

Blah. Blah. Blah.

I sound as if I’m back in junior high.

I even start to slack off in my reading and commenting on other blogs.

Stopping the daily post seemed, at the time, the right move.

But I had concerns.

Sure enough, eschewing has led to more eschewing.

I received an e-mail today from NaBloPoMo reminding me to add my blog to its April blogroll if I intend to post every day.

So I suppose it’s time to resurrect the obsession/compulsion/addiction/hypergraphia and see what happens: Improved sleep or no sleep, plus T-cells or minus T-cells, arhythmical Cicadas and all.

It’s already 1.75 hours after my bedtime.

But I’m wide awake.

All this dopamine is doing wonders for my mental state. Five more minutes and I’ll progress from cheerful to ecstatic and I might make it to the border of downright manic.

Now. What in the world will I write about?