Secrets to Great Chili
Ah! Bright Wings

Why Blog?

"What's your blog about?" a friend, who'd recently discovered that I had one, asked me last night. I opened my mouth—and started stuttering some lame response. It's hard to say what my blog's "about," and I've been thinking about that question all day. There's not a topic I can answer with, because it isn't about just one thing. Not only books or gardening or hiking, not scrapbooking or quilting or writing on their own.

Plenty of people blog to keep in touch with their family members, to let them know what's going on in their lives. Most of my family, though, lives fairly close to me, so they already know what's going on. My sister reads my blog, and sometimes one or two of my nieces, but for the most part it's not about family updates. In fact, most of the people closest to me don't read it. ("I don't need to read it," Kendell is known to say, "I live it," which thoroughly annoys me.) I also don't blog very often about my kids, especially as they get older. This is because I don't want to embarrass them by putting "out there" something they don't want other people to know. I want the details of their lives to stay their own, so I write about them a lot in my journal and only blog when there is a way to relate their experiences to a wider context—or if something is irresistably way-too-funny-not-to share hilarious.

Yes, 'tis true: I keep both a journal and a blog, although occasionally, my blog discourages me. I think about other blogs—blogs of the well-known variety—and wonder why more people don't read mine. I start to ponder about those other bloggers' lives, their seemingly-perfect marriages and homes and children and extended families and skills and connections and successes; I start to reason that their blogs are so well-known because their lives are so awesome, while mine moves around its wandering, lackluster track. Perhaps if I were more perfect: if I stopped writing about my issues. Perhaps if I were more exciting: went on trips to exotic locales, or stopped off in New York City to go shopping, or, well, did anything. Perhaps if I were more focused: only on scrapbooking, or photography, or running, or quilting. Perhaps if I were more dedicated: a thoughtful, insightful post every single day.

Maybe if I managed those things, I'd have a well-known blog.

But of course, that begs the question: do I blog to become well-known? Probably not. I mean, sure: I'd like it if my blog brought me some otherwise-unattainable success as a writer. But mostly, I blog because I like writing, because I filter my experiences through my "how would I write this?" glass, because finding a "so what?" is one of my coping mechanisms. Because I am not perfect, and I don't want to portray an illusion, I blog about the truth: I fight with my husband and my kids hate my cooking and I am a lazy housekeeper.

Like Michel de Montaigne (the father of the modern-day essay), "'I am myself the matter of my book" blog. My blog is "about" me—the way I think and the conclusions I draw (or don't). I try to write entries that might make someone consider a different perspective, or thumb their own similar wound, or smile in recognition. I don't always succeed at this, of course; sometimes my blog is just a collection of thoughts without a point. But I try to not let it become a daily agenda—I did this and then I did this and then I went here. Instead, I strive to make my posts mini-essays. "Strive" is a good word because "essay" is based on the French word for "attempts." Like Montaigne (whose writing is much better than mine), I want to put myself into the world with words, by looking at a topic through the only lens I truly can (my own) and to figure out what I know (or what I don't know).

Probably I will never be one of those well-known bloggers. I won't get spots on the local afternoon news; no one will write newspaper articles about my blog. But if I stay true to my original intent, a large audience isn't really the point anyway. If I flip through my blog posts, I discover the translation of my own psyche here on the computer screen. Whether or not it matters to (or is understood by) anyone else doesn't matter. Getting a bit of myself down does.

Why do you blog?

Comments

Claudia McDaniel

Wow, I guess I blog for the same reason you do. As I read your post I thought that those could be my words. I'd love to be a well-known blogger, but I don't even post regularly. My posts come when I feel the need to share something, although I tend to do so as part of sharing my scrapbooking layouts. I really want to work on posting regularly and really writing about all those things swirling in my mind. I have an English minor, but it's been so long that I've written anything of my own that I've lost the passion and probably some skill. LOL

Eventually, when I'm not feeling so lazy (or busy with everyday life) that I make blogging a priority I might be able to have something interesting to read. Until then, I'll share some layouts here and there. In the meantime, I'm going to continue to enjoy going through the blogs in my reader.

Thanks for your post(s)!

Valerie

Your blog often puts into words the experiences I am having or feeling. It is uncanny sometimes, how close you are in what you are feeling and what I am going through. Keep writing, and your famous to me.

Valerie

Maureen

I enjoy your blog, I feel like I am reading about a real life, not something sugar coated for public consumption.

wendy

I have thought about a lot of those things over the past few months of minimal blogging. I wonder a lot about some of the really well trafficked blogs, because I think some of them are not all that great, and I wonder how in the world they got such a large fan base.

Right now I am still mostly not blogging. My journaling was suffering and was more needed. It would take too long to explain the process I went through from my blogging beginnings (which was purely for creative outlet) to how it morphed and now to where I am today.

I think when I have a more clear picture of what I want blogging to be in my life, I'll blog more consistently, if not more frequently.

Becky

I have thought and thought about this lately. "I need a theme." "I need to focus on ____." "I need to advertise my blog on ___." Yeah, it all so so...artificial. I don't know how you become famous, just luck I guess. And while I'm like you in that I don't blog for comments and popularity and all the rest of it, it's still hard to not want more traffic.

But when I'm honest with myself, what I really love about my blog, is it is a part of me right there on the screen. Those words came from me. There is a lot of satisfaction in that.

Jillian

I read your blog because it is different - not a how to on perfection, but rather ramblings on a rich inner life. Some entries are foreign to me (running!), others are echoes (loving books, emotional reactions, living in a less ordinary way). You may muse on your blog worthiness, but know that I read your entries regularly and always find them thought-provoking. This puts you firmly into the 'writer' (if not published!) zone for me.

heidikins

I don't blog for comments or readers (although I love tboth), I blog for therapy. And my therapy is not generally uni-directional. Thus, a hodge-podge. I've mostly accepted it.

xox

Francine

I've been having a lot of the very same thoughts about my blog so I totally get this post. I keep thinking I should focus on just one thing, but I know myself well enough to know that would bore me. I have to keep reminding myself that I called my blog Callaloo Soup for a reason - as my tag line says "a little bit of everything"!

Between this post on the one on loving yourself you definitely have gained another reader!

AudreyV

I just started reading your blog, and I really enjoy it. I'm a quilter, scrapbooker, and "wanna be a better writer" ;)

Wendy

I, for one, love your blog. I love that you share your issues. Of course, there is a selfish aspect in that, because often your issues seem to align pretty closely with some of my issues (and boy do I have issues!). I appreciate that you share "warts and all." Like you, those who only share the perfection eventually tend to get me down.

I agree with the commenter who said it works as therapy. So many times I find myself rambling along in my head about what I would put in a blog post about my depression. Of course, most of the time, I try not to write about my crippling depression because it is a downer (even my parents don't want to read that expose of my warts). Still, even the process of thinking about how I would articulate those feelings helps to get through them.

I do think your blog stands out among the rest because so often your posts are polished essays (worthy of publication in a syndicated journal). Whatever your reason for blogging ... keep it up!

Judy

I echo Jillian's words, and might add that many of your posts have inspired me. Some of the entries gathered into a group of essays would make a great book. In fact, I've lately thought about asking your permission to upload some of them into my personal journal files. May I? :-}

alexa

A thoughtfully and written and beautifully crafted blogpost is a reply to its own "why". That's why I enjoy visiting. :)

Zyzmog

I don't know why you blog, but I know why I read your blog. The literary skill evident in your writing and composition is refreshing, even invigorating, when most blogs (and books!) out there today read like 7th grade English assignments. The range of subject matter, the depth of thought, and the rawness of emotion in your writing, yank an emotional and intellectual response out of your readers.

It's impossible to read your blog entries superficially. It's more work to read, but it's worth the effort. It's like eating a thick, juicy steak vs. a bag of potato chips.

clmk523

I love your blog! Don't change a thing! Our interests overlap in ways that sometimes surprise me. But no matter what your topic, I know your post will be thoughtful, thought provoking, and well-written. Thank you!

Kary in Colorado

Yours is one of the blogs I check in on nearly every day. I enjoy the way that you write and your voice--at once familiar and very different. It was through the very first BPS class that you taught that I found this blog, and I have read it ever since. Thanks for making the time to write.

Margot/NZ

I'm like Kary, in having followed your blog since I 'met' you in your BPS class. I love your writing and that when I visit I'll get an insight into your real life. I'm a scrapbooker, a quilter and a (new) librarian, a reader and a journaller - so I have some things in common with you. But there are lots and lots of ways in which you are different to me and that is what makes your life (and reading about it) so interesting to me.
Thank you for the care with which your posts are crafted - they are a delight to read. I (and all these other people) will keep reading.

Laurie

I don't blog but love reading yours.

Maura

Hi! I found your blog today through Fluent Brittish. I don't have an eloquent answer to your question. I stopped blogging for a year, during my divorce, and eventually came back because something was missing. Blogging is a means of self expression, something I don't otherwise have in my corporate job. It also gives me an outlet for things I want to say that I don't necessarily have anyone else to tell. I don't speak to my friends, sisters or my mother even bi-weekly. My blog lets me talk, in a way.
I once wanted to have a widely read blog, but after meeting several well-read members of the "blogging community," I don't want that anymore. (Dear God they are so petty!)

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