Thursday, December 4, 2008

why I blog at all

I've been wanting to do a post like this for a while, ever since a friend raised the question of my intent here, wondering if I expect input or perhaps don't enjoy it, whether I'm entertaining you or just perhaps myself.  Another friend thinking of starting a blog herself also asked me why I do it, and thinking about all the reasons why was just too fun.  So I thought I'd write them out here and see what other bloggers would add.  

Earlier this week, Drew turned around at the table where he was doing homework and said, "Hey, Mo-om.  Guess what one of my spelling words is this week?  WRITER!"  You can't imagine how it thrilled me to know that he had any comprehension at all that I would care about that.  He must actually consider me one of those, despite the fact that he's 7, so he doesn't exactly browse the blogging community, and there isn't a single book in Barnes and Noble with my name on it.  

And that is the first reason I blog.  Because I wanted to write.  A good friend said of me when I was in high school that I wrote well but hadn't yet found my voice.  "How the heck do you find that?" I asked my mom.  And she said, "You find it in your grocery list.  And all kinds of other common things you can write every day.  Keep doing them, and eventually you find your voice."  I thought a blog would be even better than a grocery list. 

Also, I wanted to write for people.  When I was just writing for myself, it was too easy to skip it.  I heard on the radio the other day, "We judge ourselves by what we are capable of, but others judge us by what we have already done."  Another thing my mom always said was to "discipline your art".  Too many people out there "should" or "would" or "probably could", and not enough do.  You have to put some work into it if you want to produce anything of worth.  I thought having readers would be a good way to make myself keep writing, even when it seemed easier to quit.

Blogging is hugely, hugely, ginormously self-indulgent.  I'm well aware of that.  The other day Drew was telling John about a girl he likes.  The only thing I know of her is that she has freckles.  And this is what he said, "I hope I recognize her my whole life."  Having a blog gives me permission to write down things like that.  And you kind people read it.  Me?  Self-indulged.

But my hope, and another reason I keep doing it, is that it will also entertain or move you.  That at some point at least someone will say, "I totally get that."  A part of me has this crazy need to find the common denominators in humanity.  I want to discover and record the way I feel about things with the delusion that at least some of them will make all of humanity nod its head, "Ah, yes.  We totally get it too."  There have to be some things like that.  The thrill and the ache of being a parent, the need for love, dreaming big.  I keep writing and writing and writing - just hoping something I say will get that big universal nod.  Indulge much?  Yes, I already told you that.  But if I get a nod here and there, then I figure I have given as well as received.

So that's why I  blog.  I started it for me.  I keep it up for you . . . and me.

How about the rest of you bloggers?  Or maybe those of you considering it.  What are your thoughts?

16 comments:

Madison Richards said...

Blogging IS better than a grocery list. Way better. Everything we write helps us to find and define our writing voice. Your mother was right.

Once you find it and start writing from it, it becomes a source of creative outlet, and regardless of the response or even readership, it somehow feels better to just get it out there than it does to keep it in...

Keep writing. Keep blogging. Blogging is good for the soul!

Grace,
Madison

Molly said...

Wow, I think you might have just inspired me to blog again. See me nodding? Yes ma'am.

Felicity said...

I started my blog to see if I had anything to say. I keep blogging because, who am I kidding, I ALWAYS have something to say!

Blogging relaxes me and challenges me at the same time. I love reading the conversations on blogs - love meeting new bloggers.

Kathy said...

I really wish you hadn't said that thing about disciplining your art when I'm trying so hard to procrastinate on my work-in-progress today!!!
With love from your mother - who hasn't been brave enough to blog yet.

Anonymous said...

I really enjoy reading your blog and some others as well. You're doing a great job, I love coming to your side. I admire people who write and can capture people with it and make them think. Maybe some day I'll have my own blog...

Valerie said...

Validation is wonderful. I started blogging because I did not want to forget the adorable things the kids say or the fun places we go. I use to say, "I should write that down." Now I do. I think it is theraputic to lay it down before my peers and know somebody hears me. I am often inspired by the blogs I read. I did not start mine for a long time because I thought, "What obstacle have I overcome in life? How can I inspire others with stories about me and my family and crayon drawings on the wall?" I started it anyway. And I am glad I did.

Haley Ballast said...

I started for the exact same reason as Felicity (to see if I had anything to say) and got the same result (of course I do -- always!). I may just copy you and post a little 'why i blog' blurb as well... :) it would be fun to sort it all out and write the reasons.

Paul Nickerson said...

I started blogging because a friend suggested I had things worth saying. I was afraid to do it at first. You show tremendous courage and ability to laugh at yourself and your situations. My blog is about my responses to the Word of God which seems new every time I read it. I am as honest as I can be in it. But I am not bold enough to do it the way you do it. Nevertheless the commonality is the validation Valerie suggested; the heartcry, "Does anyone care?" Does anyone need me? Can the Lord use my words? Sometimes I'm silent because I don't think He can.

andrea t said...

I suppose I blog mostly so that family and friends can keep up with us. It's fun to share and maybe think someone else is enjoying reading and seeing. It is always a delight to click on your blog and find a new entry. I know I'll always be entertained or moved or cheered in some way.

serenity said...

Uncle Paul, I didn't even realize you had a blog. How did I miss that? I'm following it now, so I won't miss a thing. And I so relate to your last sentence here.

Cheri' said...

I only recently started blogging and in this short time it feels as if I have uncovered something that was buried deep inside me. I love to write! I don't often think I have something profound to say, but find that just putting my heart into words is very fulfilling. I don't have any idea if I've found my writing voice, but I sure am enjoying looking for it!

Tracy said...

First of all, Serenity, there have been many times in reading your blog that I have really connected with what you were saying and it has caused me to grow in or question my own thinking, or inspired me to go forward in places where I was stuck... all of which are good things! I appreciate your openness.

I have always been one who loves the sense of community and relationship, and even though all the blogs I read are from people pretty far away from where I am, it really makes me feel connected, even close to other people. I realize all of us who are different in so many ways are the same in many ways, too. We all have things to say to each other that can encourage us and spur us on!

Secondly... Kathy, I think you should take the plunge! I think you'd have a lot of good things to say and you'd find many others would be encouraged by your words and your stories!

zanne said...

i blog because i'm happy, i blog because i'm free... oh no, wait, that's SINGING, in a song about Jesus. sorry.

but really, maybe that's it, huh? i've always been a writer, and i'm definitely a verbal processor, so maybe it makes sense that i blog. i started because my hunky hubby (otherwise known as the HH) suggested i should. i certainly don't write as often as i'd like, because i let other things come first, but sometimes too there's something inside of me that needs to come out in words, RIGHT NOW. and so i blog, and let the rest go begging for a bit.

there's certainly something therapeutic about blogging for me, a satisfying sense that someone is "hearing" me, that i can express myself and be received. it's in some ways the equivalent of talking to myself, except i hope you all out there are listening too--and it doesn't seem so nuts when i do it this way!

and sometimes--sometimes i think i'd also like a secret, anonymous blog, so i could process all the things that might be too intimate or personal to process with people who know the real me. i have a friend who does that. any of you??

Andrea said...

I started blogging because, I wanted to let you know how much I loved YOUR blog :) remember? I had been quietly reading, and I finally couldn't stand it anymore and had to let you know how much I appreciated your ability to make me laugh OUT LOUD! Not many people have the ability to do that with the WRITTEN word, so a big thank you was in order. After that I decided to start recording somthings that struck me, andfound I liked doing it. See what you got started:)-------thank you!

Ace said...

Okay, I just happened upon your blog this morning...and I completely agreed with your line of reasoning. I am nodding my head in agreement and I am encouraged to know there are others out there with similar sentiments and desires. So I am leaving a comment since I know this is part of the self-indulgence we crave. I'll certainly be back.

Anonymous said...

I don't blog, but have been following your writings since you kept a journal on caringbridge ( I think thats what it was called...been a while) but I must say that has been two years now and I must admit that there were times that I would read it in the middle of the night, and in your writings of just plain living, I would find a reason to hang on to hope when it seemed far too hard. So for whatever reason you do blog, don't stop because there may be a twenty three year old girl in New Mexico that is reminded of the beauty of life and living every time she stops by your page,
Secondly, I think one of the reasons blogging even exists is that everyone finds some type of beauty in their own existence and it is even more magnified when there are others that can see it too and realize even more that "hey, life is beautiful!" Not purely for self glorification, but in the simple fact that if you find it in your own life why would you not want to share it and see who it just might spread to and in return have others encourage your life as well by saying "yeah, your life and thoughts are beautiful!" just my opinion...

Dominique