Oct 3, 2017

What Blogging Means to Me

It's interesting how my answer (and probably your answer, too) has changed to this over time.  At one point I had newly discovered how cathartic blogging could be and I wrote a post on The Psychological Impacts of Blogging.  (I was prepared to reread this and cringe but it's actually pretty solid.  Good job, past me.)  At that time it felt exciting and, I'll confess, I was a little wrapped up in the numbers game.

How many views can I get?  How many people commented on that post?  What can I write that people will like?

Now I'm lazy.  I've tried to quit a couple times and failed because I just enjoy it too much.  Each time I "quit" and came back, I shed a little more of that fake sense of obligation to provide value to others.  (I say fake because I never intended to monetize so why stress over numbers or who does or does not like my posts?)

I still write to "you" and love having discussions with people who comment, but it's almost like a diary at this point.  I've even thought about making the blog private and literally using it as a diary since I've never successfully journaled and that would open this space up to the last few remaining taboo topics.

But I'm not quite there yet, which indicates that the community holds some sway over me, still, small and intimate as it is.  I learned about Tony Robbins' 6 Basic Needs not too long ago and concluded that, for me, blogging hits every single one of them.
  • Certainty - I know how writing makes me feel
  • Uncertainty - I don't know how people will respond (although I'm fairly confident that it'll be generally positive)
  • Significance - What?  People care enough about little ol' me to come here and read my words???
  • Love & Connection - Daw, you guys...
  • Growth - Like the primary thing I write about.  This is my self actualization journey up in heah!
  • Contribution - This is a tenuous connection, especially as I continue to downsize and make my blog harder to access, but I always like it when someone says I've given them an idea or a new way to think about things.  Let's be honest here, who doesn't like knowing they've impacted someone else?
But anyway, back on the "I do what I want" topic.  One thing I'm starting to appreciate more and more about this space is that I literally can write whatever and however I want.  I'm blogging somewhat steadily over on my business website and I'm using the SEO plugin on WordPress and trying to get the green light on my readability score and every once in a while I feel really resentful.

What?  That sentence is too long?  Oh, people don't know that word?  Are you serious - my paragraphs are too long?!?!  FINE!  I'll add more images and bullets.

I still enjoy it, for the most part, but there is definitely a lot more effort that comes into play when you have to write within certain parameters.  And here I don't have to worry about the balance between professionalism and boring.  I don't have to provide value.  I can abuse grammar to my heart's content and string those sentences on and on and on.

Most of all, I can use whatever phrasing I want.  I hate the idea of "dumbing down" articles.  I understand that ease of use is important on the Internet and that people just want to skim and get the content out without a lot of time spent deciphering my language.  But I also think context provides the answer to any questions they might have on verbiage.

I'll be honest - I probably don't follow any blogs specifically for their turn of phrase.  I follow because I like them as a person or because I get value out of the posts.  But my favorite authors almost always have little quirks of phrasing that I enjoy, or they set the scene really well.  I enjoy vivid imagery.  I enjoy soaking into the world of my favorite fantasy novels.

So while I'm certainly not going to start writing fantasy short stories, I still appreciate the ability to express myself in as many, or few, words as I want.  I like saying "loathed" or "despised" instead of "hated."

I talked before about my friend finding journey and how I've given up on having friends that can empathize with all the levels.  Now they're compartmentalized into art friends or mom friends or business friends.  Sometimes they hit 2 or even 3 levels, but this blog is literally the one place (other than to my mom) where I can be all the levels.

I can talk about my business, I can post my weekly workouts, I can write my reviews of fantasy books.  Now that I've ceased to care about comment count, I could even post those fantasy short stories if I really wanted to and I was still writing them.

I get to be completely and fully myself, without topic moderation, without watching for eyes glazing to indicate I should stop talking business or sci-fi or what have you.

I can be sassy and snarky and sometimes outright whiny.  And when I do get comments, almost without fail you guys are positive and helpful and nice.  You are always on my side and more forgiving of my faults than I am myself.  It's ridiculous.  In my personal blogging experience, this little circle is comprised of the best followers of the "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all" philosophy that I've ever met.

So that's it.  To me blogging is like my little hidey hole where I can read a book with a bag of chocolate and no bra, judgement-free, combined with a stream of inspirational and supportive comments from friends.  It's not just the comfort of solitude or the reassurance of other people.  It's both together.

What does blogging mean to you?  If you had to abuse your blog with elaborate metaphors and similes, how would you describe it?

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