Why do I blog?

Confession: I have been struggling with my blog lately.

I don’t like to admit it because I still love blogging, adore writing, thrive on posting regularly and reading people’s comments.  The ideas continue to flow; I have a lengthy list of potential topics that grows on a daily basis.  I crave the time to sit down with my computer or my journal, and organize my thoughts.  I have all the tools for maintaining my blogging happiness.

But… and this has been bugging me for a few weeks now…

I’m acutely aware of the sheer volume of creative energy that goes into maintaining a blog, and at times it feels almost – dare I say it? – wasted.  A writer is someone who cannot help writing, and I certainly meet that criterion, but at what point does the artist/writer/poet/musician say enough is enough?  Throwing heart and soul into the creation of art – whatever form it might take – and flinging it out into the universe merely for the sake of honing one’s ability eventually becomes draining.

I feel guilty for focusing on the day-to-day success of my blog, according to the stats that show me how many visitors I’ve had.  If that number is lower than the day before, I start second-guessing the quality of my post.  If the number is noticeably higher, I feel a surge of confidence and enthusiasm, only to have it crushed by lower stats the following day.

Counting numbers seems so restrictive and limiting.  I shouldn’t care how many people are reading, how many are commenting or not, which posts are most popular, but I do.  If those numbers plummeted completely, I’d lose much of my urge to blog.  Yet, if the purpose of my blog is to write for the sheer love of writing, which is my intention, why does it matter?

It matters because an artist of any kind needs an audience in order to feel that the time they put it in is worthwhile.  That’s why I switched from journalling to blogging in the first place, because I needed to take the next step in having my words read by the world.

I don’t want to be a professional blogger.  I want to write books.  Where does the blog fit into that?  Does a blog serve as a way to get my name out there and convince people to read my books?  Is it a creative writing tool that keeps me loose and productive?  Is it a way to connect with other writers and bloggers and artists out there?  Does it serve as inspiration or discipline?

I am not giving up – far from it.  Merely philosophizing.  I’ll keep plugging away, loving almost every minute of it, and feeling the most productive I ever have in my entire life.  It brings me great serenity.  That makes it worthwhile.

What do you think, as bloggers or non-bloggers?

serenity
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23 thoughts on “Why do I blog?

  1. I enjoy your blogs, because I find out more of your “personal” nature than from comments from phone calls, which I do little of. Why not write a book of your travel experiences. You certainly write and express yourself very well and some of your comments are humourous. If writing a book is too much at this time, try and write articles and submit them to Canadian Living, Chatelaine, etc.I am sure you will get some results. No matter what, keep writing and Good Luck

    1. Thanks, Aunt Birgit. I would really love to write about my travel experiences; that’s one of my dreams, so probably eventually. I like your idea about sending articles to magazines. Someone else suggested that to me and I think I might do that. Thanks for the words of encouragement!

  2. This is absolutely a standard response that happens to everyone, its called statitis, where you spend too much time thinking about why too few people are reading you, instead of thinking of it as a stepping stone to bigger things.

    1. So there’s even an official term for it! It’s true that I do need to think of it as a stepping stone to bigger things. If I don’t, it will paralyze me completely. What those bigger things may be, who knows, but already it has opened doors, thanks to you and Kelly. That alone makes it worth it.

  3. I like to read your blog, but I find I only have time to read it in spurts. When I get time, I sit and stare at it for an hour and read everything I missed since my last hour-long blog reading session a few weeks earlier. It makes my eyes tear up (usually because I forget to blink) and Erik thinks I’m nuts. I’m probably not the only one, so that might account for some fluctuation in your stats. If your intent was to convince people to read your books, you should probably go ahead and write one! I will be stopping by your place to get my copy autographed…

  4. Personally I found the comments on my blog gave me the confidence to finish my book. I don’t regularly check numbers so that keeps me from getting blue when they are down. Your blog is definitely not a waste this is the first visit I have made but I will follow you because we are both writers, bloggers and this post was personal and I related to it. Well done:)

    1. Thanks, Brenda. Your blog looks great, too. I know my blog isn’t a waste, but sometimes the most rewarding things in life seem to require so much tending and maintenance before the rewards start to show themselves – like a weedy vegetable garden!

  5. Katherine! I love reading your blogs; I think I’ve read all of them! I don’t blog and don’t follow any other blogs, but Feisty Red Hair is definitely bookmarked on my laptop! Your stories, especially those about your sons, are hilarious 😀 I share them regularly with my friends! It’s inspiring, I think I may begin my own on my experiences as a supply teacher! Don’t worry about numbers either! Writing should be for yourself…and for me! lol.

    1. So happy to hear you like it that much! That’s awesome… hearing about people who read it regularly really makes it all worthwhile. I’d love to read your blog if you start one someday. Keep me updated 🙂 And good luck with the teaching – Adam told me that’s what you’re doing. We met up in TO a few weeks back.

  6. As someone already commented – if you love it, it’s not wasted time.

    That said, I am a writer who has been blogging for years now and if you want, here’s my thoughts after many experiences:

    1) The numbers always count. No matter what, unless you achieve a nirvana like state where you care no more about the petty things, it will always have a bearing on your psyche. The more confident you are, the less but it will regardless. I think it’s only when we get to the solid/consistent following and readers/responders that we feel at ease enough to not think about it.
    I’ve had a time when I had pretty much no readers and I knew it and everytime I came back it was like crickets… but I kept at it and it’s not like I have a “following” but there are a few folks that drop in regularly that from time to time leave a thought and even if I get a couple of comments in a post, I’m good.
    Because I taught myself a lesson a while back that I think is critical to a writer: most people may never read your whole work nor be bothered to even try perhaps, however if you can reach even one or two people, you’ve achieved something and you should be proud.

    2) As a writer, a blog is only as good as what you want it to be. Some people hold contests, some focus on reviews, some do (like me) a mixed bag and others post nothing but shorts or excerpts of their fiction to practice as well as to try and build a readership of the intended/target kind.
    You need to be clear on your target reader type and then ask yourself – what would they want to read?
    Do you want to write fiction?self-help? slice-of-life? political? humour? erotica? horror? cooking? childrens books?
    Be clear on what you are trying to write, write more of that periodically (if you can do a regular thing like once a week at least or such) it’s always better as people get in the habit of coming back to your place around that time for a fresh helping (so to speak). And areas of interest and people who’s blogs you see, who visit yours and anything of interest: comment, link-back, share, reblog, like – just do stuff to make yourself visible and create opportunity to allow people to stumble onto your blog.
    If you’re work is to their taste, they will return. If not, they don’t really matter for you anyway.

    Hope that helps at least a little.
    Cheers…

    1. Thanks for the words of advice and encouragement – much appreciated! I do struggle with knowing how to narrow my blog because my own interests are so varied and I don’t want to box myself in. Yet, without a specific bent to my posts, readers might become confused by all the things I write about. And about reaching just a few people, it’s so easy to think that no one has been affected by a post, yet now and then I’ll get a comment from someone or have a friend tell me how much a particular post meant to them, and it always takes me by surprise – and of course makes it worth it!

  7. I agree that numbers matter, but only to a certain degree. It’s like weighing yourself everyday if you are dieting. It’s counterproductive for exactly the reason you have put forth: the swing between euphoria and despair can be debilitating. Check once a week and you will start seeing a pattern which you can interpret, rather than the smaller picture which you cannot.

    I’m not sure I agree with the suggestion that you should decide on your target reader and then write to them. I believe that the work should be for yourself, you should write about what interests you, not for some nebulous audience you don’t know. If you are a good enough writer (and you are) then the audience will come, and they will read what you write and you will have been true to your own visiion. One of the things that is so impressive about your blog is the breadth of material you write about, marriage, children, family, travel, food, mentors, it’s all there, and it’s all true to you. Personally, I think writing to an audience leads to laziness because it’s too easy to fall into cliches and banality that you think people might be interested in. Every artist wants an audience, but for most serious artists, certainly for those I have known, the attention is secondary to the work itself

  8. I know you sometimes listen to Q, so I don’t know if you heard this or not.. Today David Cronenberg said ” the desire to be loved is really death when it comes to art” So, there you go.

    1. No, I didn’t hear that yesterday. Great quote. Thanks for passing it along. Thanks for your other words of encouragement, too. I sometimes worry that the scope of my topics is too broad, that I need to narrow it down more in order to be able to have a specific niche to attract readers. But the problem is I’m interested in everything and can’t imagine writing about any fewer things than I do now. But, like you said, I’ll just keep doing what I’m doing and hopefully even more readers will come!

  9. Hi Katherine! Your blog is the only one I follow and I read everything you write. I enjoy it a lot as I miss you a lot. It gives me a feeling that I am not far from you, and Alex, and I am still there chating with you every couple of days. I think that you could just do both, blogging and writing a book. You could even use some of your blogging writing in a book. I know that you do not have enough time but with a bit of good time management and sleepless nights you could do whatever you like in life even while having two children.

    1. Thanks, Marina. You’re always so encouraging and I appreciate it. I’m glad it makes you feel more connected to us; I wish you had a blog, too, so I could have regular updates about your life. We should skype soon because it’s been too long.

  10. I don’t look at the numbers. I look to see who is following me and who likes or comments on my posts… and I reciprocate. I ALWAYS respond to comments people have left on my blog. Why?

    If you want people to pay attention to you… you have to pay attention to them.

    Being a successful writer is about more than just writing… it’s more than about selling your work. It is about meeting people and building relationships. Through contacts I made blogging and visiting other blogs, I have had stories published in two online magazines and three editors have asked me to contribute some of my writing to anthologies they were publishing. I can’t even begin to describe the thrill I felt when the first anthology was printed and I held the book in my hand… my story inside. And some day… not too far away, I am going to be holding in my hand my very own novel!

    I don’t write to a ‘target audience’. I write what is in me… what I want to write. I follow Susan Isaac’s advice… “… write the story you most want to read yourself.”

    I try not to get overly broad in what I post… my main blog is where I post the fiction I write, my book reviews and reblogs. My personal stories are on my journal blog and poetry is on my poetry blog. I have a separate blog for my Project 365, which is mostly photographs I have taken… I sprinkle in an occasional piece of flash fiction.

    I don’t have a huge following and I am okay with that. I really try to get around to everyone’s blog who follows me. If I had 1,000 followers, I could never do that. Well, I could… but I would not get anything else done.

    It’s late now and I have a couple other blogs to visit before I turn in.

    I wish you all the best, Katherine and I do sincerely hope you continue blogging. I enjoy your posts immensely!

    Veronica Marie

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