As part of a month-long challenge to blog daily, I am following the directions from #reverbbroads11. Today’s prompt: Why blog? Why do you or why do you like to blog (recognizing that these are not always the same thing)? (from Kristen, http://kristendomblogs.com)
My relationship with blogging has been casual, at best. I started this particular blog in July 2008, shortly after receiving my first professional job offer. For the past three and a half years, I have gone on posting spurts, not even reaching 100 posts (although tomorrow will be the 100th!), and honestly, after this month of blog prompts, it's entirely possible that I might go quiet again. Not for any particular reason other than life (and writer's block) getting in the way. I also have a more professional blog, focused on my work as an academic advisor, but that posting schedule also has been erratic.
Despite my best efforts to come up with new, exciting, creative writing topics, I suffer from what I can only describe as low blogging self-esteem. I don't doubt my ability as a writer: I was an English major in college, so I can put together a solid paper. Perhaps part of the issue is that I read plenty of other peoples' blogs. In fact, I have subscribed to 103(!!) different blogs, many of which are updated on a regular basis. My blog reader list shows my varied interests: academic advising blogs, crafting blogs, fashion blogs, food blogs, higher education blogs, home blogs, sports blogs. What I feel my blogs lack is a particular voice or point of view. I'm not working through renovations on my house (yet); I don't do significant research on the impact of social media on students; I haven't pledged to only spend $365 on clothes in one year. Sure, the writing is all my voice and my point of view, but so often I don't feel like I have a different spin on the topic. Why should I write a post when someone else has already written what I would have said? Isn't it just easier to share the link on Twitter or Facebook and tell others to read the post?
To be perfectly honest, I've even contemplated not writing some of the #reverbbroads11 prompts that I haven't felt "inspired" to answer. Who would notice? But that's not what this month is about. Even though my readership has skyrocketed (really, 20+ readers per post?!), that's not why I'm writing. I don't have to pen the next great American novel. I don't have to inspire anyone to become a student affairs professional. I don't have to have the most original idea, the funniest writing voice, or the most creative story.
But I do need to practice my voice. And I need to stretch my creativity. And I need to take my mind off of all of the stress of closing on our first house at the end of the month. I've learned more about some really great women, some of whom I've met in person and others who I just know virtually. I've realized that we all have our struggles, our strengths, and our silliness.
So why do I blog? Well, because a lot of other great people do and I wanted to jump on the bandwagon. But why do I keep blogging? Because, in the end, I really do like writing. I just don't always take the "thinking time" to come up with my voice. With practice and time, my ideas and my voice will get stronger.