Why I am a Blogger

by Alice Woodrome

Photograph by Alice Woodrome

In response to the question, "Why do people blog."

I suspect people blog for quite different reasons, and perhaps like me, many people blog for a variety of reasons, though I confess I have not heretofore examined my motivations at any depth. Since I've been doing it since 2000, I must have some compelling reasons. I will attempt to pick them apart for this discussion. It might give me a useful glimpse into psyche I only partially understand.

One does wonder why there is this need - or at least a want - to communicate to strangers, for that is what we are doing when we make a blog entry. We come to know a few of the visitors of our blogs, but only rarely more than a first name and a few facts about their lives along with an associated feeling. Many we know only by their anonymous screen name. Even if we do come to know some of our readers, our blog is out there for anyone to read. And I think that is some of the attraction. Otherwise we would make them private, or write letters to individuals instead of choosing to become part of a blogging community.

It brings to mind the poem by Emily Dickinson that ends with the lines, "How public--like a Frog-- To tell your name--the livelong June-- To an admiring Bog!"

I can only speak for myself, and then without the benefit of psychoanalysis, so I might be missing something or misinterpreting my reasons, but here are the reasons I blog, as best I can discern them:

1. To be understood. That's the short version of my first reason. For the long version, I'll quote another poem -- this time it is Robert Frost's Revelations:

We make ourselves a place apart
Behind light words that tease and flout,
But oh, the agitated heart
Till someone find us really out.

'Tis pity if the case require
(Or so we say) that in the end
We speak the literal to inspire
The understanding of a friend.

But so with all, from babes that play
At hide-and-seek to God afar,
So all who hide too well away
Must speak and tell us where they are.

2. To enlighten others. That sounds egocentric at best, but there you are. Perhaps I flatter myself in thinking that I know things that others need to know. Through my life experiences I've gained some insights (some through tragic circumstances and some more common) that I want to share. In some ways I think our society is on the wrong track, and at times I feel compelled to sound a warning. I want people to live happier lives and be kinder to one another and themselves, and I often think I have something helpful to share.

3. I enjoy writing and look for opportunities to practice the craft. Writing is an interest I didn't have time to indulge until I retired, so I don't have a lifetime to become good at it. I also don't have time to try to get my stuff published. I know from my career as a visual artist that selling ones work can take as much time -- or more -- than producing it. My time is growing too short for that now. That's why I sometimes share in my blog stories or poems that I've written. If a few people read my literary efforts, that is published enough for me.

4. Blogging is a way share with my family and good friends. I really like that aspect of it. My sister and mother (before she died) both have blogs and I have some good friends who read my blog, as well, and sometimes post. It is a great way for loved ones to keep up with what is going on in each other's lives.

5. Posting to my blog has replaced journaling for me, and I think for many others. It is a way to document personal events - even the mundane happenings in my life - and a way to record how I feel about what happens to me and around me. Writing began for me as a sort of therapy, and that aspect of blogging might well be the most valuable.

6. Blogging is educational. By reading what others all over the world -- and closer to home -- have written about their lives and their opinions, I have grown in my understanding of what it means to be human.

7. Procrastination. Blogging is a great pursuit when one is a dedicated procrastinator like me. I'd rather garden, but if it is too cold or too late to garden, I can blog instead of cleaning house or doing some other chore that I don't enjoy.

8. Affirmation. I suspect I'm not the only person who likes to hear compliments. I worked for over twenty years as an artist, selling my work in art shows. I got used to people saying nice things about my work. When I retired a few years ago, that affirmation suddenly stopped. But with blogging, I can show my work and get positive feedback.

There you have it - my reasons for blogging. I doubt that I'm that different from most.

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