Why Blog at All

MSI laptop computer

On certain days, I find it a little difficult to make my tiny contribution to the world of letters and words. I sit down after having enough coffee and nicotine to get my heart started and turn on my laptop.

I then check my various networks to see what has happened in my little world throughout the night. I check to see if anyone has read my most recent posts and left any likes or comments.

Some mornings I am amazed at the amount of ‘hits’ my little blog has gotten. Other times I am a bit puzzled by the complete lack of activity. On the low ‘hits’ days I peruse other blogs to see what they have written about and see what sort of comments have been left on their blog.

I check the Freshly Pressed page every day. The diverseness of the blogs featured never ceases to impress me. It appears that photographic ‘essays’ are quite popular as well as ‘personal interest’ and travelogue blogs. I read many, leave comments on a few and ‘like’ almost every blog I read.

Sometimes before I finish my speculative blog reading, I will have an idea crop up in my mind. Sometimes it is an almost complete story or opinion that only needs my fingertips to caress my laptop’s keyboard to bring it out. Other times the ideas float around like so many dust motes. Difficult to pin down, let alone grab.

On the days that it is difficult to come up with something, I will gaze inwardly at the dust mote ideas and wait. Sometimes one of the motes will turn into a mental firefly. Flickering light that will blaze up and then disappear only to show up in another spot.

It is the fireflies that I rely on when my mind is stalled out on a subject of interest.

On the days where I have to play the part of firefly wrangler just to come up with something to post on my blog. I do think, why blog at all. The answer to that internal questions is always the same.

Why blog at all? The answer is to.

To communicate. To remember. To think. To show. To write. To live. To create.

I know that most of the additional “to’s” can and do fall under the umbrella of communicate. But I like to specify, especially in the areas of  ‘to live’ and ‘to create’ for they are perhaps the most important.

Lots of folks have to create to live and conversely a lot of folks live to create. I fall somewhere in the middle. I don’t feel alive unless I create.

So that’s why I blog.

The Wonderful World of Blogging

Back in 2010 I started my first blog. I wrote a minute post and published it. I then ignored it for almost exactly one year.

I quite literally had forgotten all about it.  I had so many other things going on in my life that I didn’t have time to post to a blog.

I was a literal ‘babe in the woods’ when it came to the wonderful world of blogging.  There were loads of things I didn’t know, except that my daughter hated doing them for her university course. She much preferred the pdf format for her uni work and the blog’s for her own thoughts.

In my mind, since she directed so much vitriol towards the required blogs, I decided that they must be terrible time consuming things best left alone. That belief combined with my own personal version of the Queen’s annus horribilis meant that my blogging days were to be postponed for quite a while.

Our family had been going through some incredibly stressful days/months/years and the inevitable divorce followed. 2010 was a year of running, rushing and realization. It was also a time of starting over.

I spent so much time trying to re-establish myself that I forgot that I also needed to get back in touch with myself. I had completely lost track of who I was and what I like doing. It had gotten to the point that when I looked in the mirror to shave in the morning, I would say, “Hello stranger,” to the shell-shocked face that looked back at me.

So it took me a year to remember that I had started the damn thing. I decided that I would do a minimum of one post per day. I had wanted to be a writer before I’d ever dreamed of doing anything else. I felt that this was a good way to get back into practise.

And before you could say, “Bob’s your uncle,” I was mixing my metaphors with the best of them. I also discovered that when you added something to your blog it was called a post. I still think of them as articles, I can blame Journalism 101 back in the 70’s for that one.

It has been therapeutic, this blogging business. It has helped me get back in touch with my inner child, my raved imagination and most importantly with myself. I am still a bit rusty. Like Dorothy‘s Tin Man, I’ve needed a spot of oil now and again to get those rusty brain cells working in a smoother fashion.

It has also allowed me to ‘vent my spleen’ about things that irritate me and it helps me to take strolls down memory lane.

I’ve also learned that reading other writer’s words of wisdom, wit, opinions and thoughts has opened up a plethora of worlds, cultures and ideology that I otherwise might never have known existed.

I have also learned that if I am writing about something factual, I have to do all the required research before I post the dog-gone thing.

There is one other thing that I’ve found, an almost invaluable tool that I am convinced not everyone uses. At least not as much as I do.

Spell-check.

Oh Boy, I’m Really Getting a Lot of Views, Wasn’t I

Reddit Sticker
Reddit Sticker (Photo credit: cambodia4kidsorg)

I have been doing a blog now for about a year and a bit. My views have been modest to say the least. I started out on the Blogger.com site and used them for about a year. Some of my posts got around sixty views and I was quite pleased. I then started doing posts on Tumblr and although I like the site well enough, I had no idea if anyone was even reading the bloody posts.

I then decided to use WordPress. Right off the bat my views shot through the roof. I was getting a minimum of 27 or 30 views. Again I was quite pleased with the result. My views were steadily rising and I was getting around 70 or 80 views a day. I felt like someone was finally reading my posts.

Then I discovered Reddit. The first day that I joined, I linked about four of my posts to Reddit. My views went into the stratosphere. That first day my views reached 1,185. I was delirious with excitement, the next day was even better. I finished with 1,436. I was massively impressed with the coverage that Reddit had given my little site.

 

English: See User:Jorgenev/~research/Wikipedia...

 

On the third day, my views dropped to 729 and the next day they dropped even further. I am not sure what happened there. I have looked over the posts that I linked to Reddit and I cannot really find anything about the posts that garnered that sort of response. Still regardless of how or even why I got that many views doesn’t really matter. For a very short time there, I felt that my blog was seriously growing.

Obviously the “honeymoon” period with Reddit is over. I still link my new posts to the site and it is still generating views, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss the huge number of views that my little blog got those first two days. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy if only one person reads my posts. I do write them primarily for my own enjoyment and if someone else gets pleasure from them, I feel like I’ve accomplished something.

Of course the other benefit of writing a blog  is getting the chance to read other blogs and to comment on them. There are a lot of talented folks out there who are mighty handy with a pen (or a laptop).

So I’ll keep on writing my three or four posts a day and hope that folks still enjoy reading them.

WordPress
WordPress (Photo credit: Adriano Gasparri)