This is my 1000th post at The Splintered Mind.
Ten years. 500,000 words. Four million pageviews. Gadzooks!
I think a toast is in order:
What keeps me going? Three things, I suspect:
I love the discipline of it. At least once a week, I must take some weird thought, or some philosophical or psychological or science fictional idea, and give it shape. It has to be novel enough that specialists won't find it boring. It has to be clearly enough articulated that educated non-philosophers can make sense of it and see why it might be interesting. Every week, I need to find something new that meets these criteria. What an exercise for the mind!
I love the directness and lack of filter. I can write whatever I want here! It doesn't have to go through editors. It doesn't have to please referees. I don't have to wait two years to see it in print. It's not behind a paywall or buried in section three of a twenty-page journal article, beribboned with caveats. I can put it here, and you can see it, and I can link to it, and you can link to it, and we can argue about it in the comments section, and there need be no one between us.
I want to engage with a broad audience. Since the topics that interest me also sometimes interest people outside of my corner of the academy, I want to be able to reach those people, have discussions with them, possibly influence them and be influenced by them. Although insular debates among specialists have an important role in philosophy, and sometimes even have an awesomely nerdy beauty, I think philosophy fails if it doesn't also regularly reach out beyond the academy -- and in a way that involves genuinely working out one's ideas in public (as opposed to presenting simplified digests for a public from whom one does not expect to learn anything).
The result has been a hundred posts a year for ten years.
All this blogging has, I believe, changed me as a philosopher. It has solidified my commitment to an ideal of philosophical writing that is as clear and accessible as possible without oversimplifying, my commitment to always seeking what is humanly interesting in philosophical questions, and my commitment to thinking of philosophy as an activity in which everyone engages and to which everyone brings some valuable wisdom rather than as a specialists' exercise to be conducted behind a wall of jargon.
Even if you have never linked or commented, the very notion of your presence has influenced my work, pressuring me always to write more vividly, interestingly, and defensibly. I imagine you reading this post and I am inspired to think through and write each idea as well as I can.