Thoughtful Thursday: Why

March 8, 2012

Thoughtful ThursdayThere has recently been a lot of controversy in the ALI community. I won’t get into it, except to say that it has raised a fundamental question.

Why do you blog?

Some people are basically keeping a journal in public, and what they write would be the same whether or not anyone was reading. Not me.

Some people blog to be heard, to have their words read and acknowledged. That’s not it for me.

Some people blog to make connections, with their readers and with other bloggers. That’s part of it, but not all. I’m certainly not trying to rack up high numbers. I was just having a conversation with a friend who is a respected but not bestselling professional writer; he declared that he is sick of being a cult favorite, and he would like to be a mainstream success. I, on the other hand, love that my blog readers are people who get me. I’m not for everyone, in blogging or in life.

I blog, in large part, to help others. When I was at my most desperate, or hungry for information about being a certain number of days past transfer or how to administer an injection into my own butt, reading blogs helped, a lot. I have made a very conscious effort to provide information that can help others, such as my posts on breastfeeding after IF.

I also blog for intellectual engagement — for myself and my readers. That is certainly the impetus behind Thoughtful Thursdays. I enjoy crafting posts, challenging myself to write in different ways, expressing things that are hard to express.

However, if everyone stopped reading, the intellectual engagement would be there, but it wouldn’t be enough for me to keep blogging. I presumably couldn’t help people unless people stumbled upon posts later, and I definitely couldn’t connect to people in the same way if I never heard from them. I didn’t start blogging to make friends, but as a side benefit of the search to connect and to engage intellectually, I’ve made some great ones.

Why do you blog?


18 Responses to “Thoughtful Thursday: Why”

  1. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Oh, I know the controversy. 😦

    The worst part is the hurt feelings all around.

    Why do I blog? You know, the answer to that is not very simple.

    My blog(s) were a vent-out for me. And they continue to remain so.

    Also, the truth that I did not start with the intention of helping others. The reason was me.

    But I have realized that in the process of writing all those posts, my own clarity has improved. Sometimes, I catch myself thinking over what I am doing/or at, at a specific point of view.

    I like to blog because it is like telling tiny bits of my story – that story which I am willing to share.

    I do not blog to ‘suit’ my readers. That’s not me.

    As for your writer friend, I was strangely reminded of one of your past posts – “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.” It is not the same thing, but still.

    BTW, I love the term ‘intellectual engagement’.

  2. St. Elsewhere Says:

    Sorry for the bungled up language…

    “…Also, the truth is….”

    “I catch myself thinking over what I am doing/or at, at a specific issue.”

  3. Elizabeth Says:

    I love your Thoughtful Thursdays although I don’t always jump in. I actually ended up writing an entire post in response to this one.
    I guess the short answer is: I like to write, I like having my own little corner of the Internet to do with as I wish, and I like building relationships with thoughtful bloggers who know what the pain of infertility is.

  4. Mel Says:

    Why I blog, how I use my blog, and why I read blogs are all three separate questions with intertwined answers.

    I blog to take things out of my head, like Dumbledore’s Pensieve. I find that when I look at thoughts that way, I can see things and understand things I didn’t know before. And then I read blogs for that same reason because sometimes other people put into words something I’ve never been able to articulate before.

    I blog as a warm-up exercise to manuscript or article writing. It’s my stretching space. I read blogs for writing inspiration, to constantly have thoughts floating through my mind.

    I blog to record my life. I write double the amount of posts that I actually publish. They’re all sitting there in draft, just as important to me as the ones I’ve hit publish on. And I read blogs to see a record of someone else’s life; a life that I’m not living because I’m not them.

    I blog with a hope that I’ll connect with people and meet people, but I would still blog even if no one read, in the same way that I’ve always kept a journal and no one has read that. I blog with the hope that my words make a difference for someone else, but even if they didn’t, I’d still write them because they make a difference for me. I blog to pass along information, but I would still blog even if no one needed the information.

    I could keep writing for a long time.

    But I think the reason why a person blogs also ties into how they see the blogosphere or other bloggers. How hurt feelings can come about. Which isn’t to say we all need to blog for the same reason or be in agreement, but it’s an explanation.

  5. a Says:

    I don’t really know why I blog. And I don’t do it that often anyway. I express things better in writing. I occasionally have a funny story to tell. I feel like no one really listens to me, and it’s a way to get things out of my head.

    I read blogs because I live vicariously through others, and it’s an easy way to learn from experience without having to go through the pain/hassle of the actual experience?

    I comment on blogs because what the blogger said triggered some sort of response in my brain that I think might be useful to the issue. Or sometimes because I feel like I’ve established a relationship of sorts.

  6. Ana Says:

    [First of all, I just realized you mentioned my post in the Second Helpings on the round-up–thank you!!!]

    Great question, and one I’ve been thinking about lately. I started blogging for 2 reasons. Number one–as Mel said more eloquently above–to get my thoughts out of my head; the act of planning, writing, editing, and reading the words helps me organize and make sense of what is amorphously swirling around in my head. Often by the very act of writing down my troubles and issues and seeing them plainly in black and white, I find the path I need to take. But, obviously, I could do that in a journal. So just as important is reason Number 2: I blog to be part of a community. I already felt like I was somewhat part of it already, with reading and commenting on others’ blogs. But I wanted to participate more fully. To engage more fully in the give & take, rather than just on the fringes.
    So those were the reasons I started blogging. Now that I’ve been at it for a few months, I find that I blog for different reasons on different days. Some of my posts are more organized & edited—more for the craft of writing and communicating a focused idea. Others are more haphazard—trying to get heavy thoughts & hurt feelings out of my head & heart and perhaps even find some support. More rarely I’ve written to seek advice (sleep) or to hopefully help others in the same predicament (breastfeeding). I have very few followers but I am OK with that—I’m a small group, few friends, kind of gal—having even a handful of people reading & commenting on my posts feels wonderful and just right 🙂

    Your blog, btw, was the first I found when I searched online for IF-related material. I read all your archives and one day felt brave enough to leave a comment. Through your blog I found many others & made my entryway into the blog world full of support & information beyond my wildest dreams. So your goal to help others? Definitely achieved.

  7. Elana K. Says:

    I blog to keep my friends and family updated, but before I had my kids it was to get my feelings out and receive support from the IF community as a whole. I felt so alone here, like I was the only one suffering, so I needed that connection. Now that I’m a mom, I don’t need the support as much so I just update people on what’s going on.

  8. loribeth Says:

    This is a great question & probably worthy of its own post (& perhaps a question for discussion in the salons this coming week). I can relate to a lot of what you said, as well as the comments above.

    My situation is obviously quite different from someone who started their blog while going through infertility (or a loss), achieve & go through pregnancy (by whatever means) or adoption & is now parenting. I started blogging in late 2007, nine years after my daughter was stillborn and six years after we decided to stop treatments & remain childless.

    I had participated on listservs & message boards at various stages of my journey, and still do. Blogging is (or can be) a different kind of writing — it’s almost like writing a mini-essay or a newspaper column — more thoughtful & analytical. I like developing a theme (particularly on my longer posts), thinking about WHY I feel the way I do, what words I should use.

    Whenever anyone asks why I blog, I usually start out by saying, “I blog for myself.” That’s true — but I would be lying if I said I didn’t also have an audience in mind.

    If I think back to the very beginning, one BIG reason I started the blog was specifically to connect & participate in the community Mel had built up. I LOVED reading the book club posts in particular, & was dying to take part & add my $.02. ; ) I was doing some commenting, but realized I’d get a lot more out of the whole experience if I had a blog myself.

    Also, anyone who is travelling the childless/free path quickly realizes that there’s not a lot of support out there for this particular option. Pamela Jeanne was already blogging on this topic and was a huge inspiration to me. I thought she captured our experience so well — but I knew there were more of us out there, and felt we should be speaking up more about our experience & lighting the path for those following us.

    And now there ARE more of us out there in the blogosphere. Not nearly enough, of course (there are many more of us out there than our numbers on blogs & boards would indicate) — but it’s slowly evolving & getting better. And people aren’t just writing about the sad stuff; they’re writing about the ways in which their lives are good, even though they are not parents.

    And of course, it’s nice to get feedback (particularly the positive kind). Really — who doesn’t like to get comments & to hear that their work has resonated in some way with readers, whether they agree with my point of view, can offer an alternate opinion, have a similar experience to share, learned something new or just plain liked my writing? Yes, I would probably still write without the comments, but they sure do make the whole experience a lot more fun & rewarding.

    But I don’t specifically write to get comments, or worry about offending readers by writing about certain topics. Of course, as I said, I’m coming from a different place than most bloggers.

    I’ll be frank — I found it kind of interesting to hear the parenting after loss bloggers saying how isolated they felt & how many readers they lost when they got pg/had their babies, that nobody wanted to hear their stories. As I said, I started my blog post-loss & infertility, but I can only imagine the drop off in readership, had I started when I was in the trenches & then made the decision. Nobody likes to think this will happen to them, but the hard truth is that not everyone comes out of this with a baby. And it’s also true that it’s not the end of the world.

  9. Rebecca Says:

    For engagement – I like people to respond

  10. Jules Says:

    Back in the old days (the days when I was going through the emotions of IF), I blogged to let my feelings out & hopeful let others out there know that they were not alone.

    These days… Well, it’s mainly gap filling memes or hops to keep me going, or just long periods of nothing, then a post here & there.

    I’m not sure whether now I just don’t have time, or whether the passion has gone. They do say most hit songs are written when the author is going through an emotional event. Not saying I am popular. Far from it.

    I’m not sure what’s been happening in the ALI community, but hopefully the controversy is short lived.

  11. I am without original thought on this one. So let me copy both your reasons and Mel’s.

    I had no idea, going into blogging, that I would make so many and such good friends.

    And that it could hurt so much on occasion.

  12. Mali Says:

    A great question, as the others said. I’ve really enjoyed thinking abouto this, and needed to say more than I could say in a comment, so have written a whole new post about it. In brief though, I blog so that I’m not alone (those of us with no kids, not ttc, not pregnant, feel our isolation acutely even within this community), I blog so that I can think aloud, I blog so I can educate, and I blog to share what I’ve already learned on my journey, and hopefully learn more as I go.

  13. strongblonde Says:

    when i started, i blogged because i felt alone in IF, but i knew there was a whole world out there. it’s been great because i made personal connections with a variety of women who were going through the same thing and had similar feelings/attitudes. why do i continue? not sure sometimes. mostly to keep people up to date, to let people know i’m still alive. maybe to still feel connected? we’ve talked about how i’m not very outgoing, and all of my friends keep moving away. it’s nice to have connections and be able to talk to people who really get it, right?

    ….but this has started me thinking about other things…

  14. Sara Says:

    Throughout college I’d followed a handful of friends on livejournal, but I didn’t start my own account there until moving overseas, 6.5 years ago. I knew I had a lot of friends and family that I wanted to keep up to date with important life announcements, but didn’t want to annoy them by sending out mass emails. An LJ was a good compromise — I could put out whatever I needed there and whoever was interested in reading it could when they wanted. Over the years, it has gone from just life announcements to a place where I record recipes and my attempts at making them, amusing things I’ve heard/read/thought, rants, accounts of my travels, some logical and philosophical reminiscings, a few memes. Almost all of my entries are public, and I write them that way in the sense that there are some subjects I do not discuss in my LJ, but save for my private hand-written journal that no one but me reads. There are also a handful of entries that stay underneath a friends-lock, mostly because I’m not stupid.

  15. Cat Says:

    I don’t blog now, but I think about starting one more and more. I did actually have one after my babies were born to keep the family informed, but with all the hours spent at the NICU and pumping, blogging fell by the wayside, especially after they were all at home. Sleep or blog – not a tough choice!

    What draws me is the simple act of writing and capturing my thoughts. I also enjoy the engagement with others and have heard from a lot of my friends that I should write a blog (or even a book) or that they’ve specifically subscribed to my facebook posts so they don’t miss any of the random kid craziness that I post about.

    My current hang ups are time, though I really should cut back on my TV habit, and whether to have an anonymous blog or not. I’d like to be able to write about whatever I like without having to hear about it later from people I actually know and see regularly, which is what would/could happen if my friends and family knew I blogged. I certainly don’t have the time to write for more than one blog and if I tried to cross post some entries, I’d probably end up posting something objectionable onto the wrong blog and paying for it later.

  16. Well, I started blogging to have an outlet for my feelings when I went through IVF, which I desperately needed after six failed IUIs (and the prospect of IVF scared me a bit, to be quite honest). THere were somehow things I couldn’t share with people IRL, but I needed to share anyway, so I decided to share it with the entire internet, ha… well, mainly with the ALI community, although in the beginning I might have had only three followers and most of my posts didn’t get any comments.

    As a happy side-effect my blog was found by a few non-French people navigating their way through IF treatment here in France. One woman even went to the same clinic and is now the proud mother of an IVF baby. I am very glad I could help these people out through my blog and that is also one of the reasons I would never take it down.

    I more or less stopped blogging on my IVF blog after the birth of my first son, and started a private blog to update family and friends. However, I more or less blogged in the same way as I did on my IVF blog, sharing my feelings, uncertainties etc. but found out through comments (over the phone or in person, no-one ever commented on the blog, which I thought was a shame because I always love getting comments on my other blog) that my readers actually only wanted the cute stories about my baby – and not read about my sleep deprivation etc. I continued blogging there but with many hiatuses, after which I of course had to catch up to tell everyone what had happened in the past months. The last post on that blog is from a year ago. I just don’t like blogging that way. Then I rather post on FB (but of course not all family members and friends have FB accounts…).

    I gained more readership on my IVF blog during my quest for baby #2 with IVF #2 and FET #1, partly because I participated in some great blog hops (one of which was initiated by you!). I like being part of this community and exchanging stories via our blogs and I wouldn’t want to give that up. Now I just have to find a way to continue blogging without turning my blog into a mommy-blog.

  17. Tara (TIMO) Says:

    I started blogging because I had no one IRL to talk to about IF and what I was going through. I continued blogging because I wanted to keep a record for myself of our goings-on and perhaps one day I’ll modify it for A&B to read.

    I read a lot more blogs than I comment on. I like reading other people’s stories but find it difficult to comment. Usually someone else has already said something way better than I ever could. I’d probably continue to blog even if I had no readers because it’s mostly for me but that has been coming into question lately as well. Lots going on in my head and in the blog-world.

  18. I think for me it’s a mixture of helping others and processing what happened. Though I understand why many woman don’t want to talk about infertility, I hate to think of any woman or couple feeling alone in their struggle. I think blogging about fertility provides community and helps both the writer and reader.

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