So, go on then. Why do we blog?
When I started blogging all those years ago it was because I was going through an extremely dark phase of my life and I was introduced to the idea of keeping some sort of journal to keep track of what was happening to me and how it all made me feel.
I began a blog with the site that came with my Hotmail account and my posts were very “urgh, had another bad day today”. I didn’t really intend anyone to read them and they were more of a personal record of feelings more than anything. I didn’t know much about writing online and I know that not many people read my stuff so it didn’t really matter what I wrote or how often I posted.
Then the Hotmail site announced it was going to be closing and offered to migrate all our blogs over to WordPress. That timing coincided with the start of another new phase in my life where I felt I needed to challenge myself and so when I started the Mushy Cloud here on WordPress I committed to writing a blog post every day for a year.
It was not as easy as I thought it was going to be, but I did it. A whole year of blogging!
I did find that some days were easier than others and content came to me quite naturally but other days, crikey, they were hard. I moved away from the personal stuff and began to look for content that interested me and so I began to write thoughts for the day, or share bits of poetry and “on this day in history” type of stuff, and I loved it. It was exhausting, but satisfying to get to the end of the year without having missed a single day of posting content.
After that particular challenge I decided to pare it back a bit, but I had the bug for writing and when I restarted my studies with the Open University in 2013 I was keen to build on it. Ironically, as I began to study the art of creative writing, my public writing on the Mushy Cloud tailed off a bit and towards the middle of last year I sort of lost my way a little. I had gained my bachelors degree in the summer of 2016 but even so, my writing mojo had gone.
I then started studying for my Masters degree in September last year and this Christmas I decided to re-challenge myself to post something every day for as long as I could as a way of making sure I did some sort of writing at least once a day. It was a way to discipline myself and to focus my thoughts on what I was studying – warm up exercises if you like.
But something happened, and I rather like it. I began posting in January and by the end of the first week I thought to myself that I would never find enough content to write something every day and I thought I might pare it back again to just once or twice a week. But I know myself, and I realised that if I only committed to once or twice a week I would either forget to do it, or I would find another excuse not to do it at all. And so I pushed through and made it to the end of January.
I had another rethink and thought, well, I’ve done a whole month, that’s enough to say I have met my challenge of writing every day and so time to stop now. But again, something happened. I had revisited some of my favourite memes and blog-hop sites from when I was fervently blogging before and I picked up some lapsed online friendships and I realised that I had missed them. There are genuine people out there with whom I have a genuine connection, who care about me and who I care about in return, and I had missed that online connection.
Now that we are well into February I have still not failed to post each day, but more than that, I am finding that my daily writing exercises are getting easier (not published online), and I am deepening those online relationships with people through blogging. And it’s great!
I had forgotten that pull of online friendships, with like-minded people who like to share things from their corner of the world with me and I am keen that all this continues. I draw strength and support from reaching out to people online and it helps me with my “real life” reaching out.
I admit that some days I do “cheat” a little and post just a picture, or a thought, or something quick and easy. But I try to make up for it with meatier stuff later on when I have more time.
So, that’s why I blog – it is somewhere to share thoughts with online friends, it helps with my daily discipline of writing and it is a way to meet a personal challenge of putting myself “out there”. Why do you do it? I know there are people who share aspects of their lives on here that I find invaluable and they draw strength and support just as I do, but I would love to hear what motivates them to do it. Is it like me, that sometimes you just need that quasi-anonymous relationship that is conducted through your screen? Or is it something else? Drop me a comment and let me know.