It seems that I’ve read a slough of posts by bloggers lately where they are apologizing to their readers for having fallen off the face of the planet and making the confession that they don’t really like blogging, it’s a huge time suck, and they’d rather be writing fiction anyway.
Such posts usually leave me with three thoughts:
1) Then you probably shouldn’t be blogging.
2) You’re trying way too hard to always be brilliant and insightful.
3) You’re totally not blogging for the right reasons.
I have been blogging off and on for 12 years across various platforms. For the past 7 years, I have ripped out a post almost daily, and with rare exceptions, I didn’t spend a lot of time on it or angst about what to talk about.
I’m not worried about being brilliant or insightful. Which is a good thing, as I think my posts rarely are. That’s totally not the point of my blog. The point is not even to connect to readers and grow an audience (though I’ve managed to do it all the same)–which is absolute heresy in our climate of Platform Building advice for writers. I have already talked elsewhere about the need to be yourself when you blog (I’d link you, but I can’t remember what I called the post). So what I actually want to talk about today is why I blog.
One of my all time favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks. This movie holds a special place in my heart, not only because my husband and I totally met for the first time in a coffee shop with a rose and a book, but because I so connected with Kathleen’s character on multiple levels.
She writes to NY152:
Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but circumscribed. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave? So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?
I don’t really want an answer. I just want to send this cosmic question out into the void. So goodnight, dear void. [Emphasis mine].
This has always struck a chord with me, this idea of sending something out into the void. And honestly, I think that’s what got me started blogging in the first place. I had journaled off and on for years, since grade school. But apart from my truly appalling handwriting, I was never driven to stick with that particular format. But blogging…the idea of recording my thoughts about…anything and throwing them out there into the void, where they can, in theory, become part of the collective unconscious that is the internet–I find that appealing.
Sometimes the void (all of you) talk back, and that’s really cool. I always appreciate comments (even though I’m heinously bad about replying). But it’s not what drives me.
Neither does number of hits or actual exposure (though they’re nice).
I blog daily for me, because I usually have something on my mind and seldom have someone immediately present to share it with who would give a hoot. Maybe I wouldn’t have so much to say if I were surrounded by people who get me all the time. But either way, the only value I really place on my blog posts is the personal payoff of recording my thoughts. Nothing more, nothing less. Anything more is gravy.
Certainly this is not the prevailing or even a documented attitude toward blogging these days. I kind of have the sense that people are the same way about blogging this way as they are about cooking just for themselves. “It’s too much trouble.” or “It’s only me.” This sense that doing something just for yourself isn’t enough reason or justification, as if your own desires aren’t worth something. Probably this is an offshoot of our Puritanical origins that demonize selfishness. But that’s getting off on another tangent. My point is, your thoughts are important, even if they matter only to you.
So stop worrying about blog hits and number of comments and whether or not your post is brilliant enough to with a Pulitzer. If you have something to say, say it. And if you don’t, then stop making excuses and stop blogging. Switch over to a static website with all the information peeps need to find your books, and focus on some other form of social media presence that you actually LIKE.