Sitting here in sunny San Jose Del Cabo, Mexico has me thinking. I keep thinking about why I started blogging more than ten years ago and why I starting blogging again a few months ago? I mean, I had affectively stopped blogging and moved on. What brought me back? Well, I missed the connection. I missed being a part of the blogging wonderland. I missed you. And when I returned I was blown away that people remembered who I am. Thank you! I was also blown away by all of the talent out there. Yes, there are a lot of talented people who have taken the bull by the horns and have become quite successful. When I see these people all I want to do is read their words, look at their pretty pictures and not compete for their space. Lately and maybe because I am PMSing on vacation, I have been thinking about this a lot.
Last night Dave and I talked about why I blog over dinner. He had the sea bass with saffron potatoes and I had chicken cooked in a banana leaf, with the most delicious homemade guacamole and homemade corn tortillas. My two yellow and one blue corn tortilla were so homemade that as we walked to our table, we walked by the cute little old Mexican lady who was cooking them on a tiny stove.
I kept asking Dave, “Is it worth it? Really? The space is so saturated. I want to know what you think.” Dave is probably less committed than I am and because he has a long career based in High Tech he knows the realities of social media and beyond. There are so many blogs and other avenues of social media out there that I wonder if my blog should have a place or a space? Is it worth it? Is it worth the endless and excessive self-promoting? Is it worth it to make sure that you are not only Tweeting links to your blog, but you are also responding to Tweets and also Tweeting other interesting happenings? I go to Twitter and I am mobbed with links and shouts. I cannot figure out Pinterest and because I can’t I know I am missing some boat. Instagram is cool, yet I am not sure how I get folks to follow me. Ah, how do I get folks to follow me here or anywhere? Facebook is the only thing I think I have a handle on. I like the short posts. I like being able to upload pictures from wherever I am. I like the instant feedback and ensuing conversations. It was great letting folks know in a matter of seconds that son #2 smacked son#1’s face into the side of the pool which ened in son#1’s two front teeth being chipped. In seconds I posted the bloody evidence. In minutes we were talking about the chipped teeth. Geoff could comiserate. Wendy wondered if it was in Ms. Senich’s class? No. It was Miss Loefler’s class and whatever did happen to Ben Johnson? Stephanie and Jodi guessed it was son #2, especially when son#2 suggested he fly back to Utah on his own. They know our sons. Kyle, Dave, Eli & I were all feeling the love. Facebook is genius and sometimes I do think it is enough. Obviously so does Mark Zukerburg and that is why he is worth 250 gazallion times infinity dollars.
That is the big question. Since leaving blogging five years ago that question is so hard to answer and seems to get harder by the second. We all want people to come to our web sites. Is it worth it? What sets me apart? I don’t know if there is anything that does. There are great writers, designers and self-promoters out there. There are kind, interesting, daring, obnoxious and very cool people who are continually refining their strategy. I am impressed and in awe. I feel like my Grandma did when I was teaching her how to use our new cable remote all those years ago. “Grandma, push the green button to turn the tv on and this one is for the guide. If you click on the ok button it will take you to your channel.” I remember her responding in her thick Minnesota accent with something like, ” These remotes are confusing. It’s much easier to get up off your butt and turn the television on yourself.”
I want to write. I want to be read. In our easy access publishing world I wonder if the pay off will be worth the time I put in writing and then self-promoting. Is it? What do I have to say that sets me apart? Do people want to read my words? I sound vain. I do not feel vain. I feel lazy. If I am going to write I need a presence. I think I would have stopped last month if it had not been for Andrea, Amy, OtherB, Kevin, Robin, Michelle, Ben, Brenda, Sunny, Kim, Nino, SuefromSC, Wendy, Sara and everyone else who stops by. Most of you know me personally and have been gracious enough to leave a comment (even when I solicit one). Thank you!
Now what should I do? What do you want me to say? Yes, I am a people pleaser and in all honesty if I simply wanted to journal I would keep my words offline.
29 thoughts on “Why do you Blog? Or read Blogs?”
I write a blog (not often enough admittedly) because I process life better through writing. I also like the feedback I get from my infinitesimal audience of readers. I read blogs because I like knowing people’s (peoples’?) stories. I like knowing I’m not alone and letting them know they are not alone either. I like feeling a connection with someone who writes from their heart. I like reading something someone wrote and then having that “YES! that’s it exactly” connection. Thank you for coming back to writing in your blog.
I, for one, am VERY glad you’re back. I love hearing your voice, hearing your thoughts.
I went through the same existential blogging crisis several months ago which lead me to nuke my whole blog (clean slate). I’m still working through that.
I don’t have any words of advice, I only wanted to tell you that I read, I absorb and I enjoy.
Yes, I agree. I do it to connect and do what Amy just said, “process life better through writing.” I feel like its sort of like talking out loud to myself to figure out what I think for myself. It’s about taking the risk to voice what that process is in a crowded room and hoping to meet someone there who connects with what I’m saying. It’s a process and it is fulfilling even if it is just for myself. I also think it’s about being creative. What other parts of my life give me space to create with words or pictures or anything? Not many. I think it is also about giving myself permission to be involved in creative projects as a way of expressing and sharing myself.
I don’t know much about blogging, but, in general, if you are going to do something, do it for yourself, not for us. It’s always a hundred times better that way.
I’m also waaay more likely to post to facebook than I am to my (much-neglected) blog. That said, I was thrilled to stop by your blog a few months ago and find you posting again, and I enjoy the more in-depth experience that long-form posts allow. As a voyeur, I appreciate the blog posts and the connection-with-strangers they allow. But as a writer, I can definitely sympathize with the need to just connect with people in a very immediate and intimate way.
You are you, Beth. That is all that you need to set you apart. You are a unique individual who has thoughts/stories/insights/experiences to share, and all of that fodder is unique to YOU. Enough said. There’s no need to justify yourself or the space you occupy on the planet or the Internet. I agree with Scott that this should be for YOU. You love to write, keep doing it and you have an audience of friends who will keep reading.
I think blogging is so hard to describe. My hubby who does not read blogs does not get it. He rolls his eyes when I mention reading blogs. I sometimes refer to blogging as a modern day quilting bee, as it allows us fellowship with like-minded people with no geographic boundaries. I was so happy to see you back at blogging. I have never met you, but I feel some sort of connection regardless. I am intrigued by what you have gone through in life, your photographic eye, your humor, your loves (Target!), etc. I guess what I have in common with you is that I have a son, I love Portland, I love to travel, and I love having connections with my fellow amazing women. I appreciate honesty, I admire good writing, and with your combo of both, it keeps me coming back.
PS I feel so honored to be part of your “shout out!”
Amy, THANK YOU! Thank you for commenting and thank you for opening up. Mostly, thank you for reading and giving me some very sincere feedback. I am grateful you shared yourself. You inspire me! Hope you are feeling good today!
Thank you Sunny! And thank you for your feedback. I completely OWN that I needed it! Thank you for loving my voice. I love who you are. I hope your terrible week comes to an end soon. I bet you are more than glad that tomorrow is Friday! Hang in there!
Thank you for answering my question and for helping me work things out online and then back in my brain. You are correct. It is totally an existential crisis. Have you decided anything else as far as your blog goes?
Your words are advice. Crazy how that works. It is a process.
Erin (and Amy), I am with you. I process, emote and digest everything better when I write about it. Exactly what you say, it is like talking out loud to myself to figure out what I think. I wonder if it is the types of brains (how we are wired) we have; just a thought.
And about being creative, I agree. I wish I was more craft or at least ore disciplined with arty endeavors. The one thing I have always been able to do, since I was a very young girl, is write. I like to write. I also like to share myself. Erin, thank you for helping me process. It means a lot.
Scott, I always LOVE what you say even when it is not what I want to hear. Today, it is what I want to hear. I read your words while sitting on a windy beach watching my boys swim in the ocean. Pretty amazing! You are right. I need to do it for myself. The other and slightly mor uncomfortable “for myself” part is that to do it online I want something in return, or at least I think I do.
Nora, see, you get it. It is so easy to post a quick thought or picture to Facebook. Facebook is genius. What I need to do is figure out how I can keep people coming to my blog. And yes, I think that sounds selfish. I would love to have a space where us folks can take a step further and talk about these odd thoughts we have. As a blogger it is nice to connect and I also think we have been told that we need the immediate connection to have value. As a writer I could write a book and if I did I would want people to buy and read it. As I blogger I want the same thing or why should I blog? Does that sound completely self-centered? Thank you for being so honest, Nora and thank for letting me spew back my thoughts in this comment.
Andrea, I think I need to shrink you down to fun-size candy bar size and carry you around in my pocket. You always say just what I need to hear. Thank you!
It is weird that we have not met because I feel like you really get me. I am justifying my space to myself. I love writing and I have to be honest, I love an audience. I also write offline and get something form that. To manage and keep a blog is some work and that is what I wonder, “Is it worth the effort because there is a lot of wonderful competition out there?” Many of you commenting today are also great writers and bloggers. I do not think I am better. I just want to make sure I am in the right space and doing something that fills me emotionally or spiritually or financially, you know what I mean?
Blogging really is hard to describe and quantify. I know I ma not alone with my thoughts. There are so many good, well designed blogs out there and to compete (have a presence) in that space, like I mentioned above, is a lot of effort. As I sat on the windy beach today watching the beach vendors pedal their wears, I wondered about the effort. Does that make any sense? Blogging is a little less Wild West, past the Gold Rush and moving into a legitimate industry. I wonder if I have what it takes to keep my space.
I am so glad that you like what I say. I am grateful for your intrigue and interest. Portland does rock and so does Target! The connections with women are cool and so interesting and I am grateful! Like I said, there are really talented and cool woman out there. Women that are making a living at blogging. I wonder if I can because I would like to. I am just try to figure out how to.
Happy Thursday and I hope life is good with you. Your husband cracks me up. He sounds like Dave a little. Even though Dave reads many many blogs, the women blogs make no sense to him! 🙂
I read some blogs because the writers are family and friends and I want to know what is up in their lives and I am too shy to call or email. I read some blogs because the writer has fresh ideas and makes me think about my own life and purpose. And, I am sad to admit this, I read some blogs because I like to roll my eyes and judge. In my defense, those blogs also cause me to think about myself and evaluate what I do and think (you are not in this category).
I blog because I get bored sometimes. I blog because some things in my life make me laugh, which is one of my favorite things to do, and by reliving the moment, I laugh again. Sometimes I blog because I learned something or did something new. Sometimes I just need to assert my presence on this earth and in the cyberworld, even if very few people read my blog, which does not bother me and which is why I don’t market myself.
I like to read our blogs. They are refreshing and easy to connect with. Just keep swimming.
Beth said “The other and slightly mor uncomfortable “for myself” part is that to do it online I want something in return, or at least I think I do.” I’m guessing you want to be able to “touch” people with your writing and get recognition for that, and recognition for being a good writer (that may not be your reasoning at all, but it might get you started on getting to the answer). I have no idea why you would be uncomfortable about wanting to get something back for your efforts.
I have been reading you since the days Dooce brought me here. It is so so weird seeing everyone’s kids grow up. I cheered when you got pregnant with Spongebob and cried when you lost him/her. I checked every few months for your reappearance through out the years. Someone wrote an article about dooce.com recently I think you might have linked to it here. Where they explained how through the years of reading her she has evolved into someone we feel almost like family… that we feel we know her and that the caring we experience for her is very real to us. I know for me I feel the same way about you and Melissa (suburbanbliss.net) and 2 other bloggers with kids who all started at the same time. Watching your kids grow and your families change has brought me a sense of stability and a better grip of what I want for my own life. I think that makes all the work worth it. I’m nobody special but you’ve impacted my world and I missed you not being in it.
Do whatever feels right. Selfishly, however, I’m glad you’re back.
I just found you again. I read you way back when dooce was your neighbor and linked to you. I love your web address (so easy to remember!) and have checked several times over the years hoping you were posting again.
I enjoy your writing and photography and am glad to see you back. To me, you seem like the girl next door. You seem sincere, approachable and readable.
I used to follow many blogs and now I’m down to three. Some seem like fiction just written for entertainment or to get ad clicks or donations from readers. Yours is nothing like that and I look forward to reading what you write again.
I have enjoyed reading you for a long time now. When you were not here, I kept checking back hoping that you would start blogging again. And you did! You are part of my day, if you do not post, I always wonder what happened and hope that all of you are ok. I like your writing, it is down to earth and feels very genuine. My thoughts can be as complicated as yours but I can never put them into words like you do. To me, it feels like I have known you for a long time and I miss not reading you. Enjoy Mexico and the sun!
Beth: The RS.feed is not working on my laptop. What to do? Mel B
Late to the party again, as usual 😉
I ‘met’ you through dooce when you were neighbors. I have recently rediscovered a few blogs that I read religiously and, to me, blogs that I read are like distant cousins after a few years. It’s comfortable knowing that, even though we don’t know each other and/or live across the country from one another, we all go through much of the same things. We’re all human. We’ve all gone through embarassing, thrilling, sad, happy, etc. things. It’s nice to know how others handle themselves or how they can suggest we handle ourselves at those moments.
I started blogging back in ’06 when we were going to leave our home in Ohio for greener pastures in SC. I did this mainly to keep the family and friends updated on our trials and triumphs. The longer I did it the longer it became more of my own personal journal and less about the kids. I started to teach myself html and website building. I talked about how much I hated SC, how much I felt alone, how much I wanted to go back to the way it was….bloggingng gave me an outlet for my anger and depression.
I kept coming back to your site through the years looking for you. I posted a couple notes when Dave dropped a post, hoping you would come back.
I read blogs that I identify with, that sound like it could be my voice. I have become disinterested in a few because they are the author’s job now instead of just random writing. Some, I stay with even with ‘notoriety’ because the author hasn’t changed their voice.
I dropped off the blogspot world when blogging seemed to be turning into a competitive sport. I’m not competitive enough to care about how many hits I had. I have tried to blog again over the past year or 2 but since fb took over so I no longer need to think of a topic I just lost all of my interest. I’m hoping to get my oomph back soon.
Sooooo, now that I have, once again, written a novel that blathers on, did I answer the original question? Did I put enough comma’s in that last sentence? Does -comma’s- have an apostrophe?
Mel B: Let me ask Big Daddy! Hey and Happy Birthday to you! <3
I will get back to you!
Busy Mom, Thank you!
I wrote that “Why do you blog post,” and then got all dramatic and broke my arm. I am glad you are glad! Thank You!
Scott, Ok. so the delay! I broke my arm. I swear I am not avoiding you [wink wink]. You are right. I think anyone who puts there words out there wants something, some kind of recognition for what they say. If I am honest, I would keep it private if it were not for my love of feedback and hope that I do touch someone!
CJ, First of all and not to be completely cheesy, YOU are someone special. Seriously! Thank you for taking time to write and give me feedback. I love your perspective and it makes a lot of sense. I am touched that you felt both happy and sad for me. Believe it or not, I still would LOVE a kid and am grateful that people remember the Heartache of SpongeBob! I feel happy that I have been part of your landscape. It feels really cool actually. I think those other bloggers are pretty amazing to be able to consistently blog all these years. Their lives are so unique and it has been really interesting taking a peek into their worlds. Thank you for being interested in mine.
OK and forgive, please forgive, my delayed response. I love reading my comments and I actually LOVE dialoging with all of you. I am back with my broken arm and really my unintended break is due to a damn Mexican ATV.
Melissa in Tennesee,
I love that you love my URL. Dave bought it years ago and even way back in 2000 I completely thought he had scored! I never want to let it go.
I feel greedy accepting your kind words yet I will totally accept them. Thank you! You completely made my day.
Now that I am back from Mexico I am working on the tale of my broken arm. Yes, the broken arm that forced me to take a quick blog break! Thank you for reading. I love reading the comments and I love chatting/dialoging with all of you!
Simone, WOW! Thank you! Seriously, I am really touched by all of your kind words and your perspective! I love to write. I think there are so many talented and unique folks out there. It is comforting to know that other people have “complicate” thoughts. Thank you! I am grateful you found me!
This time my blog break was because of my broken arm. I think it is hilarious that I wrote this super existential post while in MExico and then the very next day I broke my arm and have had to take a little blogging siesta. I am back and working on my broken arm story, which my friend from Peru thinks is really funny! Anyway, thank you again!
Sue from SC and when I met you it was Ohio! 🙂
Hello my distant cousin,
Better late then never and with my unintentional break I am glad you chimed in to keep the party rolling. As far as commas, I think you put in the perfect amount. Now with this reply I cannot promise the same.
I love your replies. I feel like we could be standing in a parking lot (Target’s, of course) or sitting in a coffee shop and that I could hear you saying the same thing. Through your ups and downs, joys and sorrows, your voice has remained the same (with more life experience) and I like that. I have always liked who you are because you are you. Thank you for checking in with me all these years and thank for taking time to make sure I was ok.
I think I am really glad I took such a long hiatus. It has been hard to find my groove and that is kind of why I asked why people blog? I wanted some inspiration and I did. Thank you Sue and thank you everyone!
Your good shines through. I am back with my broken arm, the arm I broke in Mexico. My arm is perched up on my desk so I can type. It is hilarious. Luckily I did not break my wrist. I am working on that post. Hope life is good with you! Thank you for chiming in!