One of the problems I have with blogging is that I can be indecisive about what my purpose is. Why do I have a blog? Is it worth the time I put into it? I try to be selective about how I spend my time. The older I get the less I have of it left and I want to make wise choices. There aren’t a lot of “have-to’s” in my vocabulary- I’m aware of the difference between what I must do and what I want to do.
I’m sure I’m not the only one that struggles with this aspect of blogging. In the time that I’ve been doing it consistently and making the effort to find a blogging community, I’ve seen lots of blogs come and go. For me, the biggest issue is that I lose focus. I tire of my own voice, I wonder if there is anything new left to say. I want to write for myself, yet I’m willing to put it out there. And having readers changes everything- it’s not really a journal any more. I’m conscious of what I say, careful to not reveal too much, aware of the huge potential for over-sharing and general ennui with the mundane details of someone else’s life or the same topics discussed over and over again.
For a personal, general blog like mine, I feel like I have two options for what I write. One is to use it like a journal, and not fuss too much about whether or not it is interesting to anyone else. This was my original purpose for blogging, when I first started one back in 2008. I just wanted to write, I wanted a place to make sense of my life, a way to capture the ephemera of motherhood.
But over time I started to feel like that wasn’t enough, that I should be more disciplined, have something substantial to say. That my blog posts should be more like articles or essays, with a clear focus. And so sometimes I write that sort of post. But writing a serious post is neither simple nor easy. Professional writers get paid for a reason- it’s hard to write well! It’s work like any other kind of work, and at some point the effort it takes goes beyond the hobby stage. I’m a practical person- I can see that these carefully crafted articles that get buried in my personal blog with a tiny readership might not be the best use of my time.
It’s not that I think the time is wasted exactly, but I have to consider what makes me happy. Because that’s what a hobby is all about. It’s not about proving something or pleasing other people. Writing for pleasure is very different from writing for pay (or some type of acknowledgment or accolades that will hopefully turn into pay). When writing is part therapy and part hobby, there’s no pressure, no need to compete or worry about being good enough. It truly is enough just to do it, to sit down at the keyboard and create. It’s the process, not the product.
So for now, I’m going to stay true to my original purpose in blogging and just write. Without worrying about whether or not I have anything substantial to say, or what people might be looking for. The truth is, I’m all over the place. I don’t want a niche blog, I don’t want to be limited in what I can write about. If I’m not trying to get paid for my efforts, then I should feel free to do exactly what I want. That’s the beauty of it.
I’m going to experiment with this idea and see where it takes me- just sit down and write. I’m not going to wait for inspiration and I’m not going to worry about what anyone reading might think. I’ve been serious and self-conscious for far too long, and I’m getting a little tired of living that way. I was always such an old soul- getting older has felt like coming into myself, my physical age reflecting my inner self. But there is a part of me that longs to break free from the weight of my own expectations, the burden of doing the right thing, and I think my blog is a good place to start.