Every other day, it seems, I am getting an email from a devout reader asking me, “Ditty, why do you blog?”.
Well imaginary devout reader, who has never actually emailed me that question, aren’t you in luck? Today I have decided to answer this very question.
We are approaching the year anniversary of “going public” on this little blog and it occurred to me that people might be wondering: Why would a working mother of 2 (who can often be found wearing her husband’s old sweatpants smeared with banana and complaining that there isn’t enough time in the day), take what precious little free time she does have to write blog posts about her dining room. It probably doesn’t make sense to rational people. It just doesn’t add up, does it?
I imagine people scrolling and skimming through one of my posts wondering to themselves…
“I wonder why she does it? I wonder why she blogs?”
Then, because my mind can be terribly cruel to me, I start to imagine the other people.
Reader 1: “Why does she even bother writing a blog?”
Reader 2: “She must be getting paid.”
Reader 1: “But she can’t be getting paid, her blog is total amateur hour.”
Reader 2: “So true. Does she fancy herself some sort of writer?”
Reader 1: “Pshhh…..yeah right! Maybe she is just a narcissist that likes to hear the sound of her own voice and thinks that everyone in the world actually cares about her Christmas vacation?”
Reader 2: “Yeah. That is probably it. I hate her”.
Reader 1: “Me too. Let’s go get sushi and continue to judge people.”
If it seems like the “other people” I am describing sound a little harsh…a little judgey…a little trollish, it’s because they are. They are what you call “haters”. And we all know…
I suppose I am fortunate that, to date, I have had zero people actually hate on me because of this blog…at least not to my face.
But in my head, the haters are alive and well. And man, they beat me up on the regular. They are a relentless bunch; these imaginary, mind-dwelling assholes. Just ready to pounce at any moment of weakness and self-doubt.
So, I know I don’t owe any actual person an answer as to why I blog – but I want to address the critics. Which again…let’s be clear…are (at least to my knowledge) only in my head.
Why I blog
I blog to remember
One of the primary reasons I started blogging was that it seemed like a great platform to document real life, in real time. My memory, on a good day, sucks. I found that I was starting to forget the details of some very precious times in my life – my move to Dubai, meeting my husband, becoming a mama for the first time and my first experience visiting a Chinese public restroom (nah…just kidding about that last one…despite my best efforts, I will NEVER forget that horrifying experience). Blogging perfectly preserves little vignettes of my life. I have only being doing it for about a year now, but I can already tell you that I LOVE going back and reading old posts – like our epic summer or Finley’s birth. I can only imagine 20 years from now what this will feel like.
I blog to connect
In more ways than one, this blog has reduced the distance between me and the outside world. There is the physical distance that the Internet has helped to bridge; the fact that I can offer my mom, in South Carolina, a steady glimpse of our life overseas or that I can tell a story about my house in China and my Stateside friends can actually imagine my living room…that is kinda awesome! This blog has also helped me to re-connect with people from my past – former colleagues and students, friends from high school – people from another time and place. People I might have never been in contact with again except, now, they have decided to reach out to me because they, too, have a love for gallery walls or an unhealthy obsession with Emily Henderson.
But perhaps most surprising, is that this blog has actually helped me to form new friendships; with people who live in close proximity to me and with people I have never actually met before in real life. Let’s appreciate that for a good minute….let that one sink in: I have made new friends by posting my feelings on the Internet. Isn’t that weird? And awesome? The Internet is totally creepy like that. I’m a fan.
I blog to learn
Blogging challenges me. When I started this blog I knew absolutely nothing about WordPress or domain hosting or favicons or widgets (the list goes on and on). Now, I know just a wee bit more than nothing which is, all together, not that impressive…but I am inspired to keep learning. I want to figure it out. I’m determined to figure it out. And someday, when my children are in college and blogs are no longer relevant, I will figure it out.
No, seriously…my goal is to one day have a blog designed, more or less, by yours truly and that visually reflects me and what this blog is all about. That will probably take 10 more years but, hey, it is something to work towards. The same goes for mastering my damn DSLR, which I am becoming increasingly convinced that I am just not built to understand. But again, I like to learn and practice and pretend. So I will keep working on it. #f*Fstops #Fstopwontstop
I think as adults we sometimes forget that, even in the midst of all this heavy responsibility and obligation, we are allowed to be students. We are allowed to be beginners. And, take it from me, when you get yourself in the right frame of mind (read: a little bit buzzed off of 2-3 glasses of wine), being a beginner can be so much fun! There is zero pressure, very low expectations, you are drunk and really there is only room for improvement. Seriously, begin something…anything…today. You can thank me later!
I blog because it scares me
I have to admit, I thought the scariness of blogging would have worn off by now but it still rides shot-gun with me every time I click ‘Publish’. I’m not sure what I think is going to happen, but I’m always anxious; always a bit reluctant. There is a vulnerability that accompanies blogging (and, really, anything that you have total ownership of). A bit of your self, exposed. Raw. And there is always the good chance that someone won’t like what they see.
But I think this is what also what makes blogging compelling. If you weren’t reading this right now, you wouldn’t be able to respond to it. And if you didn’t respond, I would have no way of knowing that you also relate to a particular emotion or situation. I wouldn’t get to experience that whole “Phew…it is not just me” feeling (and you wouldn’t either).
So, yeah, by putting everything out there for the world to see, I have opened myself up to criticism but, strangely enough, what I have received in return is nothing but total love and support.
Without the risk, there is no reward.
Without the risk, this is just a diary. And diaries are so 1989.
I blog because it is rewarding
I am not going to lie, it feels awesome to create something and have people tell you that they like it; that they are inspired; that they laughed out loud. It has to be one of the best feelings there is. It makes me so happy to know that people genuinely enjoy reading something that I genuinely enjoy writing (even if those people are technically my friends or my mom, who, by definition, have to like what I write).
So, thank you! For every single Facebook ‘like’, comment, email subscription and/or passing compliment…thank you! The various ways in which you have shown me your support over the past year truly inspires me: to write more, to learn more, but mostly to support others, who are out there taking risks, in the same way you have supported me.
I blog because I love to write
I love being alone with my thoughts. I love drinking coffee and sitting in front of a computer screen and dreaming up stories to tell. I love crafting and creating sentences until they feel just right. Until they feel like me. I love that writing allows me the opportunity to think before I am heard; the chance to be genuinely, but thoughtfully, honest. And despite my soft, barely audible voice (or so I am told), I do love being heard. Without interruption. Without the small talk. Without the awkwardness (on my part..not yours. You are fine. I am socially awkward). Essentially, without the bullshit. I freaking love that.
Anne Lamott says it best.
“One of the gifts of being a writer is that it gives you an excuse to do things, to go places and explore. Another is that writing motivates you to look closely at life, at life as it lurches by and tramps around.”
I couldn’t agree more.
And just to be clear (I’m talking to you, Reader 2), I do consider myself a writer. In the same way that someone who runs is a runner or someone who bakes is a baker. I will never profess to be an amazing writer – my vocabulary is basically at a 5th grade level and my grammar is absolutely shocking – but it brings me joy, I need it in my life and I do it…regularly. So yeah, I’m a writer. BAM! Take that haters!
And just to address the elephant in the room, I do not get paid. Shocking, I know.
Have you ever thought about starting a blog? Does the thought sound even remotely fun? Do the reasons I outlined above resonate with you in the slightest? If so, I feel it my civic responsibility to say “GET OFF YOUR ASS AND DO IT!”. You’ll love it! It will change your life (mostly, because now you will have a blog and before you didn’t, but whatevs.). Just do it, okay? For realz. But make sure you send me the link so I can get all up in your world and throw some love your way!
Need help getting started? There are SO MANY great resources out there to help you find your blogging feet. I am in the middle of writing a more detailed post about this (so stay tuned for that) but for now check out this advice from Mandy Rose. This is what I used to get started and I felt she held my hand through the whole set-up-your-blog-process.
Not interested in starting a blog but still want to be part of the blog world? There is no shortage of inspirational and tasty blogs out there on the Interwebs to consume. Feel free to pursue my list of current favorites if you need a starting point.
Okay lovelies…that is all from me for today. But seriously, thank you for joining me on this journey and encouraging me along the way! Y’all rock!