Monday, February 16, 2009

Why I Blog

It seems that there are at least as many reasons for blogging as there are bloggers. So why did I choose to start blogging? And why do I continue blogging? It obviously isn't for fame or fortune.

I started blogging for a very mundane and prosaic reason - I needed to regain my writing skills. In order to understand what I mean, some background is in order. I am the author of more than 150 published articles, papers, nomographs, and a weekly newspaper column. Note that I say am, but that writing was mostly more than 10 years ago. In the past, writing was a natural and easy process for me. I could sit down and my thoughts would flow onto the screen or paper without a thought of the mechanics of the process. When I started to write again recently, I was rusty and it was like pulling teeth to get anything out of my head. What should have been a ten minute task became a two day ordeal. The joy of writing was lost to the struggles within.

I am not what I call a passionate writer. I don't feel that I have something eating its way out of my brain that *has* to be published and read. I am not even sure what I want to write about until I sit down and do it. All I know is that I want the mechanics of writing to get out of the way so I can engage my mind in the joy of creation and expression.

Like any skill, writing depends on practice and hard work. As my friend the writer says, you have to work at it every day. I know he puts in the requisite hours every day. At the Super Bowl party, he and I had a chance to chat a bit about it. He reads this blog and sometimes comments to me about it. (Yet another of the people who comment in real life and not here.) He also said he had thought from time to time about blogging, but that after the long hours of writing he did each day, he feared he would have a difficult time writing still more for a blog; it would become just another task. (He had a point. If I ever feel that this is a task rather than a joy, it will cease.) The issue here is that practice really does make perfect (or at least ease).

Back in October/November, I made an agreement with myself to write something every day. I promised myself that I would publish daily, no matter what the state of that day's writing. I also told myself that I would prepare and write any day's assignment on that day, preferably within 45 minutes of posting it. That way it could not become a long agonizing process. I also made the explicit decision to only give my writing a quick once over in lieu of real proof reading. I wanted to be able to write again, not edit. I have generally followed that plan. You, my dear readers, have had to suffer the occasional misspelling and typo, even the rare sentence fragment. For that, I apologize.

The point of this whole meandering mess? The process is working. It has become easier for me to pick a topic and just write about it. Some of my normal wit (and sarcasm) has started to peek through as the mechanics have moved aside. It has improved enough that some readers have noticed. Even L has noted that my writing is getting much better. And that makes me happy. But what makes me the happiest is that it is becoming a transparent process, free and flowing. Now all I have to do is work on my tendency to wordiness and ...

So why do you blog?  Are you on a mission? Are you honing a skill? Do you have something eating its way out of your brain? Are you a Martian?


  1. I'm a Martian O.o No...I started writing in my blog because I thought I was pretty much dead (there's a lot of things wrong with me) and I wanted to write down everything I thought and did and felt. Then I started thinking about my recipes and that blog started because I wanted to have them somewhere permanent and that my people could get to. The Crazy Life blog started because it seemed weird to talk about my crazy cats and then the next post was about something in the news, then back to my fish or something...that's it. That's my story. I enjoy your blog quite a bit so I hope it never becomes a chore for you. Oh, and I'm only halfway dead now :) That's much nicer. (You have to have a little smartass with the bad..if not it'll drive you crazy.) --Kathy

  2. Like you, I started a blog because I enjoy writing. I wanted to be disciplined about it and improve my craft. Writing every day for a year was a goal which, after 400-some posts, no longer seems important.

    Now I write to be part of the community I've found online. I am constantly awed by the abundance of great writing that's floating around in the blogosphere. Reading and commenting is great, but so time-consuming that I really have to limit the number of blogs I follow. And I'm beginning to feel that it is keeping me from moving to the next level of my own writing, thinking that maybe I should be devoting my energy to something with a grander design. It's tough to think of leaving all this (insert all of your favorite blogs here) behind. ;)

  3. ps I guess this is why you don't update on my blog list:

    There has been an error of some kind. Ack!
    FeedBurner could not deliver this feed to you because of the specific problem listed below:

    Feed Address:

    HTTP Error (Code) and Message: (404) Feed not found error: FeedBurner cannot locate this feed URI.

    sooooo Idk but I don't mind checking back every day either lol Have a good night :) Happy Birthday when you wake up tomorrow.

  4. I blog because I write for a living and my daytime job just doesn't give me the same fulfillment it used to. Blogging somehow does. I love it.

  5. This was great! I started blogging because as a stay-at-home mom, I felt like my mind was turning to mush and I needed some sort of creative outlet and I've always enjoyed writing -- not fiction writing but writing like the blog lets you do -- anything you want! Once I started, it was like I turned on a spigot that I couldn't turn off! And I think the best thing about blogging is the almost instant feedback that you get! You rarely get that in other writing venues. Before I was a stay-at-home mom, I was a professional editor and then graphic designer (for small companies ... my skills weren't that good) and I was often called on to write as well. It has always come "easy" for me but I needed some kind of reason to write -- a journal just didn't cut it for me.

    Blogging has far exceeded my expectations and I am glad it is working for you. I very much enjoy reading your blog and I think that for a scientist type person, your writing is quite accessible! : )

  6. I blog because my sister asked me to and have noticed once I started blogging, I look at everything differently.

    I really enjoy blogging, but also love reading what others have to say.


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