My first email from the WordPress Blogging 101 team asked me this question and I had to stop and think about it. Why do I blog? And more interestingly, why did I choose this public forum rather than keeping a journal?
For me, this blog serves several purposes. First and foremost it allows me to write, and it forces me to write coherently. It challenges me to take the reader on a structured journey through the point I am trying to make and hopefully leave them with an ending.
It forces me to publish. This has to be the deciding factor in choosing to write a blog rather than a journal. I love to write, it’s something I feel I can be good at and an integral part of writing is publishing. I’m not necessarily talking about publishing a novel (although that would be the ultimate achievement) but any form of publishing. Writing this public blog gives me the confidence to publish short stories to online communities, something I never thought I would do. All because I am getting used to pushing the ‘publish’ button at the bottom of the page.
It allows me to interact. I am on a journey, I am learning to write and I love to speak to people who are doing the same. I don’t know any real life people who write so finding them online has been a great help to me. I can’t tell you how much help and advice from both novice and seasoned writers has helped me this year and I have surrounded myself with authors and writing tutors on WordPress and Twitter to absorb their experience and become part of this community.
I’m learning to contribute. This is a strange reason but one that I only realised this morning. Usually I am an observer, I stand on the sidelines looking in, I read other people’s blogs and stories and don’t comment. Why would anyone even want to know what I think? I don’t know anything about writing, I can’t offer critique on characters, structure or plot pacing. I only know what I like and I know when something isn’t gelling for me. Then I realised that everybody who writes a blog must want to know what their readers think or else why would they do it? Why are they using a published blog as opposed to a journal if they don’t want to connect? Every writer wants to know what their audience thinks of their work and actually, I do have something to contribute. Just because I haven’t taken formal writing courses or spent years in reading groups doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t have an opinion or just leave a note to let the author know I’ve been there. I’ve noticed looking back over my WordPress statistics that I have been leaving more comments lately and since nothing disastrous has happened I will make sure that I do this more often. Everybody loves feedback.
Lastly, I am learning to let people know who I am by writing a blog. I don’t mean in the ‘Hi, I’m Nicola’ sense, I mean in the ‘this is who I am, this is what I like to do’ sense. I am generally a very private person and don’t allow people in, this blog is forcing me to put myself out there. I want to write and I’m damn well going to do it.
Do these reasons ring true with you? Why do you blog?