Blogging: Why Do It?

I got into the A-Z Blogging Challenge because of inspiration by Keith Davies , an internet contact of many years acquaintance (back to the heyday of USENET ), who has been involved since 2013. That was my first and only attempt until this year; I got as far as the letter E. I accidentally got the letter A in 2018 , and so far this year I’ve reached April 8 and only just started the letter B. At the expected one post a day, I can’t make it all the way to Z, and at my current rate of 1/week, will be lucky to get to E. So why bother? I spent a bit of time today exploring my feelings and working up a rationale (or rationalization; you decide!)

When I started this blog in 2011 I was off work with major refractory chronic depression and looking for a way to exercise my brain, hoping that would help me improve to the point where I could go back to work (which I did, in 2014, much to many people’s surprise). I had started writing fiction in 2006 for National Novel-Writing Month , for the same purpose, and had found it difficult but rewarding. The same turned out to be true for blogging, but on a much smaller scale. I’ve counted 74 posts in 8 years, about 9 per year – not even once per month. So clearly blogging hasn’t been as much a part of my mental furniture as fiction.
I never expected much of an audience. Blogspot doesn’t seem to keep track of page views, so there’s no good way to find out. There are a few people who tell me they have been reading my blog, but it’s never had wide readership and I don’t expect it to expand much more.
So why do it at all?
Since I started writing fiction, I’ve been taking lessons online, and via the Writing Excuses podcast , and on the Writing Excuses Retreat (in 2015 and 2017 ). A recurring piece of advice is: write about what you care about; write for yourself first. An audience of one is all you need; anything else is a bonus. And so, a few times per year, something comes up where I want to get my thoughts in order, or express something about how I see the world, and I write a blog post.
Why not just keep a private diary?
Well, there are those fewpeople who read the blog and get enough out of it so they come back for more. And every so often I write something that I post to social media when I think a wider audience might be interested; there are sometimes a few “likes” suggesting other people may have read it, and even a comment or two once in a while. So there is a somewhat wider audience that just me.
Why go for 26 posts?
This one stumped me at first. I made my “A” post after seeing Keith’s this year, without having applied much conscious thought. Reflection suggests it’s because I actually wanted a challenge this year, to increase the amount of writing I do, to stretch my brain and my skills even further. As time has gone on and I’ve got closer to retirement, I’ve more and more seen writing as a thing I like to do, that could serve as a long-term activity I can keep at even as life begins to slow down.
Will I get all the way to 26?
I doubt it, but it doesn’t matter. I’m more susceptible than most to all-or-nothing thinking : why start something if you can’t get it exactly right? Because getting something partly done is better than nothing at all, and I expect the journey is going to be rewarding enough to try.
Maybe you should too!

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