I had started to examine, for the purposes of constructing a “why I blog” post for NaNoBloPo ’13, why I blog. And then, well, it kind of got away from me. I had other, more serious, things to discuss with you people — things like why I find it offensive to have masticated food shoved at me, how I’m not trying to kill my husband, why I’ll be grateful when the whole college application process is behind us, and how it was decided that humane traps were a better option for ridding the hovel of a mouse than the ones that snap off their furry little rodent heads.
And then, today, I read my friend Amanda Fox’s piece about why SHE blogs over at The Fur Files. I considered that a sign from the universe. As many of you know, I’m big on signs from the universe. What you may not know is that I like to steal blog ideas wherever and whenever I can. Like an “American Idol” contestant, I try to “make them my own” — after all, nobody likes a copycat. I think it’s fair to say that I — and I don’t think I’m alone here — am often inspired by the posts of others.
To paraphrase Jackson Browne’s “The Load-Out”, if Amanda doesn’t mind, I’m gonna take a little time, and write my own post — about why I blog. Perhaps some of you, my fellow roadies, will relate.
I like to create things. As I don’t have the room, the skills, or the tools to take up something like woodworking or metal sculpting, sentence construction seemed a reasonable outlet for my creative endeavors. One of the nice things about blogging is that when I do manage to turn my creative energies into something more concrete — the reupholstering of a chair, the painting of a bathroom — I don’t have to invite all kinds of folks over to “ooh” and “aah”, I can just snap a pic, post it, and receive my “Atta Girl’s” on the internet. Getting my pat on the back in this fashion doesn’t require me to serve anyone a snack. I don’t have to worry about people traipsing through my house and mucking up the carpet. Hell, I don’t even have to put on pants if I don’t want to. So, that’s nice.
This may come as a shock to many of you, but I like to bitch, moan, whine, and carry on. What I’ve discovered is that a person can only do so much of that in their regular life. If you’re anything like me, you tend to run into the same people day after day after day. After a while, your real-life audience begins to tune you out. Here on the internet, folks actually encourage and appreciate my snarky kvetching. That’s nice, too.
In my real life, there are only a handful of people who truly “get” me. I’m not saying that there are oodles of people who understand and commiserate with me here, but there are more of you than I’d ever imagined there could be. I never understood the power of this kind of camaraderie until I began my blogging career. I find that interacting with you folks has become just as important to me as picking up the phone and calling a friend. You don’t always agree with me — neither do they — but many of you “get” me. I don’t think that anyone could ever put a price tag on this, but it’s ridiculously valuable to me.
My readers, unlike their real-life counterparts, actually listen the first time I say something. I don’t have to repeat each paragraph two or three times to get my point across or, as sometimes happens here at the hovel, to get someone to pass me the damn butter. This, of course, may be a result of deliberate engagement, rather than the ability to process information or, conversely, my family’s inability to pay one stick of attention to anything I have to say — either the first time or the hundredth time.
When you sit down to enjoy one of my posts or you stumble across something I’ve written because you found yourself involved in a Google search for “how to make snowmen out of empty creamer bottles” (the most frequent search term that brings readers to my blog — go figure!), you do so willingly. When my family sits down to the dinner table, they don’t do so with the notion that they might have to be open to something as crazy as conversation.
And, really, that’s what this is, isn’t it? It’s a conversation that we all engage in with each other. Some of the things we post about are important to us, some are important to the world. Most of what I write falls into the former category — unless you count up the number of people that are really trying to get to the bottom of the whole snowman creamer thing — but, still, it’s nice to know that someone is listening. Nicer still, is when, at their convenience, they let me know that they can relate to my dislike of zoos or my fear of school shooters. When they reveal that I made them laugh (or cry)? Well, that just makes MY day.
I once had a professor who said it was far easier to dig a ditch than to write something of value. I would argue that they are two very different things, but would agree that writing is not easy. Not everyone can do it. Not everyone is cut out for ditch-digging, either. I can’t remember the last time I sat down and thought, “Hmmm. Perhaps there’s a ditch that needs digging today.” I have, however, spent the better part of my life thinking about the best way to construct and to communicate my stories. Writing them down is much more difficult than retelling them verbally.
Tapping out words on a keyboard, while harder than following “You are never going to believe what happened to me today…” with an anecdotal account of the raccoon on the driveway, is something that requires discipline and, at least for me, solitude. As I get older, I find that I crave those things more than I used to. I also take real satisfaction in not just the writing process, but in the editing process, as well.
More than anything, though, and the best reason I can think of to blog is because I love it. I love that I get lost in sentence construction. I love sharing my stories, my opinions, my perspectives with those of you who are kind enough to listen. Frankly, I cannot think of a single thing I’ve ever done that has brought me such pleasure. I cannot think of anything else that I’ve ever been involved with — outside of raising my daughter — that has made me jump out of bed in the morning and greet the day with joy, rather than the dread I used to feel knowing that my day would be filled with cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, and earning a paltry living at a dead-end job.
Sure, I still have to cook, clean, do laundry, and earn a paltry living, but now I get to share my misery with all of you. That’s reason enough to get out of bed in the morning. Really, when all is said and done, isn’t that what we all need? A reason to get out of bed in the morning?