When I first started blogging a little more than two years ago, I didn’t know what I was doing. I owned a handmade soap business at the time, and because I love to write, I launched a blog to build my company’s brand. A good friend of mine, Liv Lane, happened to roll out a blogging ecourse around the same time, and I enrolled in her course expecting to learn basics like how to choose a blog host and how to build readership. I did learn those things, and with her guidance I succeeded in building a thriving blog. But more importantly, through simple yet soul-probing queries, Liv helped me find my voice and my self. Once I began Liv’s course, and began digging deep to contemplate and respond to material she presented, I realized I enjoyed my business’ blog, and writing, far more than I enjoyed making and selling soaps (I have since dissolved my soap company).
One of the first simple yet probing queries Liv posed to us was “Why do you blog?” It seems like such an obvious question to ask ourselves, but I can honestly say that when I began blogging, it was not one I ever stopped to consider. And curiously, one I never asked (or answered) when I started my (now-defunct) business. My responses now are almost identical to my 2011 answers to the question of “Why?”
I blog for the comments. Duh. Doesn’t everyone? I like for you to tell me you are here, and I like for you to tell me I’m awesome. Heh heh. Just kidding. I do like to know you are here, though, and I do love when you share your reactions, your thoughts, your feedback. Which leads me to the second reason I blog.
Blogging is a form of communication. When we had our first child, and I chose to stay home with him, let’s just say the transition from workplace to home was a challenge. I need brain stimulation. Pre-kids, I had a very people-oriented, interactive job recruiting and managing participants, mentors, and coaches for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training program. Before that I worked in ecology labs, hanging out with fun people and constantly exploring and experimenting to answer questions about the world around us. At home it was just me and our infant son. Not a lot of thoughtful, funny, or stimulating conversations going on there. Blogging, and the dialogue it inspires, helps fulfill my need to communicate with other adults.
I love words. There is nothing quite as satisfying as writing the perfect sentence.
Writing is a free art form. When I first began making soaps, I realized very quickly that if I didn’t start selling them, there was no way I’d be able to afford the supplies I would need to bring all of my ideas into creation. Likewise for painters, potters, jewelers, photographers, scrap-bookers. Most forms of creative expression require materials. Writing requires very little that must be purchased. My composition books cost $0.59, and I could get pens cheap too, if I wanted. As for keyboards, even if you don’t have a computer, you can go to the library and use one for free.
Writing helps me direct my life. It gives me clarity and focus. Selecting a topic, figuring out how to give life to it, finding the right words – all of these guide my thoughts, my attitude, my perspective, and therefore my life, in a direction that I choose. For my previous blog I wrote a post called “Best. Day. Ever.” It was one of my favorite things I’ve ever written. I confess that on that day there were some not so “best day ever” things that happened. But because I was focused on writing about the awesome things that did happen, the negatives didn’t register as being important, and they rolled right off my back. I have no recollection of what they were anymore. The beauty in that day, however, is preserved now forever.
Other writers’ words, voices, choices, and experiences enrich my life, teach me, and help me strive to be my best self. This is the only new response I have added since that original list I made, and as I’ve matured as a writer and a blogger, I realize that this is the real reason I write and share my writing. Even though writing publicly often makes me feel very vulnerable, it is my hope that my words, voice, choices, and experiences may have a similar effect on my readers as other writers have had on me. That something I’ve written will enrich your life, or teach you, or help you strive to be your best self.
I highly recommend Liv’s ecourse, Build a Blog You Truly Love. Along with my husband and my childhood friend, Amy, I credit Liv with helping give me the confidence to put myself out there and write. If you are interested in blogging, and think this might be a fit for you, she is offering the course only one more time. The final session begins September 15, 2013.