Why Do We Do It?

‘Do what?’ you may well ask. I mean why do we blog? This is a question that I have asked myself many times, both inside what I rather generously call my brain and also in public, in occasional posts here. I’ve become much more regular in my blogging habits over the past eighteen months or so, but have never considered myself to be prolific. But I’ve had my moments, and you’ll shortly be seeing the start of one of those. We are currently in the month of November (a little PSA for anyone who hadn’t yet noticed) which, as many of you may know, is the ‘official’ month for National Blog Posting Month, or #NaBloPoMo to give it its acronym. No, I have no idea either who decided on this, or in which country it is the ‘national’ month: I’m guessing the US, as they claim everything, but I may be wrong. Anyway, the idea of this is that the hapless blogger commits to posting something every day for this month. I know some of you do that anyway, but I think you’d probably soon recognise a falling off in quality of posts if I did it – a point I made in the original piece. So it may surprise more recent followers to learn that I did actually take part in this twice, back in 2014 and 2015: the gap since then might suggest that I have needed a while to recover. One of the pieces I wrote in 2015 was my attempt at answering the question which is today’s heading. I reposted it a year later but it hasn’t seen the light of day since then, so I thought I’d dust it down and share it again. It was actually the first of two pieces I wrote on this subject in 2015, so I’ll be sharing the companion piece again soon – for the sake of completeness, if nothing more. This is what I said back then, originally published on 3 November 2015:

WRITING FOR FUN

As you may have begun to suspect, I have committed myself to participate in the annual marathon that is National Blog Posting Month, or #NaBloPoMo as it as known. This requires bloggers to post something every day during November. Many of the blogs I follow do that, and in some cases more than once each day, but I don’t usually. Why? Because I simply don’t have enough to say that is even of interest to me, let alone inflicting it on you! So, for me, this is a real challenge. I have a long list of draft ideas for posts that I have made in the three years that I’ve been doing this, many of which may never see the light of day, but it is a useful fallback for when I have an occasional fit of insanity and commit myself to something like this. I’ll be sharing some of them with you in the remaining days of November. Only 27 to go!

For today – Day 3 – I thought I’d write about writing. Why do we do it? What do we get out of it? Does anyone care? I won’t rehash my reasons for starting this blog, which you can see on my About Me page and in numerous posts, but why do I write at all? The obvious answer is: because I can. I was lucky enough to have a good education which engendered in me the love of books and everything about them. I read fairly widely, and  was always in jobs which required me to write on a regular basis. When I retired I promised myself that I would write purely for fun, and I have done this a fair bit, though nothing like as much as I expected. Natural indolence conquers all! I would like to try my hand at short story writing, and have some ideas for this but I haven’t taken the plunge yet. Maybe I will, and share something with you one day. Just don’t hold your breath, please! I have a dream that I may actually get something published at some point, although I am realistic enough not to expect to make my fortune at this. Having seen this from the great Dr Samuel Johnson:

“No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for the money.”

perhaps I should give up now? Or perhaps I should just accept that I am a blockhead and carry on as I am, safe in the knowledge that my limitations have been pre-ordained! An early 20th century quotation does, however, give me the perfect excuse:

“If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that’s read by persons who move their lips when reading.”

That is attributed to Don Marquis, an American journalist and author. In modern day terms, that would presumably be writing for the Jeremy Kyle brigade, although their almost universal lack of teeth would likely cause damage to the books from extraneous spray. The quote does however make an important point: that writers should always keep their audience in mind, especially if it is essential in making a living. But I don’t need to earn a living, I have my pension, so I can do what I like, right? I rejoice in the good news that I don’t have to dumb down for a mass audience. Then again, if I’m honest with myself, I’m probably not starting from a high baseline anyway! There is clearly a balance to be achieved, though: if you are writing for a living, you must of course produce for your audience, but does that mean that you can’t enjoy the act of writing, of creating something? I would never describe anything I have ever written as art, but there is a process involved in the creation of a piece of art, music, literature etc. And if the creator doesn’t enjoy that then perhaps they are doing the wrong thing with their life? If I don’t enjoy writing, I’ll stop. If I am the only audience for what I write, then so be it. That won’t have prevented me from enjoying the time I have spent on it, nor should it – for any writer, whatever the reason that they write.

I follow many bloggers and read quite a lot of them on a regular basis. With some of them the reason that they do it is very clear – particularly with the more commercially oriented. There is nothing wrong with that, provided that it is done honestly and openly. With others, it is less clear. Some appear to have a need for self-publicity, which is an accusation which can be levelled at anyone who blogs, and I include myself in that. There is an undeniable buzz seeing your writing on a computer screen, knowing that people anywhere in the world can read it, especially when it results in an exchange of comments and thoughts with other bloggers. Some seem to be blogging as a way of reaching out to others, either to help or be helped. Again, absolutely nothing wrong with that: it is, after all where I came into the Blogosphere!

So, dear fellow blog reader, why do YOU do it? Do tell, I’d love to know!

I leave you today with some more words of wisdom from Dr Johnson:

“Read over your compositions, and wherever you meet with a passage which you believe is particularly fine, strike it out.”

You had better read this piece quickly, then, before I delete it! 😉

****************************************

Reading that piece again the thought struck me that, as I hadn’t deleted it, I clearly didn’t believe it met Dr Johnson’s criterion of being ‘particularly fine!’ It also occurred that the thought process behind that post (and its follow up, coming soon) was very much geared towards the act of writing, rather than what being part of the wider blogging community might mean for us. That isn’t a question that I would fail to address if I were writing that post now – it’s too important as part of the answer for me to my own question.

How about you?

63 thoughts on “Why Do We Do It?

  1. Pingback: November | Take It Easy

  2. And you’ve done it again. Congratulations, you will be featured on the upcoming Senior Salon Pit Stop post, Monday, Nov 22nd as one of the top three bloggers.
    Thank you for your support and participation. Please invite your fellow bloggers to also come and participate, thanks in advance.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great sentiments on blogging Clive and impressive you are doing the NaBloPoMo!!!
    I write everyday but I like to respond to followers and read what they are doing. Altho i can’t keep up as it is so I limit my time which is still too much time. But I love the communication and connections I’ve made! 💖

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Cindy – but I’m not doing it this year, just 2014 and 2015 – those were plenty for me! I will however be posting every day from 1 to 25 December…

      Those connections are what make it so enjoyable, aren’t they.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve not seen that talk, thankfully, but I wouldn’t believe it anyway. I don’t have a routine, apart from my Tuesday Tunes – I don’t have the discipline to keep to a schedule but admire those who can 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. HI Clive, your second quote made me laugh and laugh. I have always said you must choose between writing for money and writing for long-term fame as the goals are not the same. I don’t need the money so I’m in it for my personal masterpiece. Why do I blog? Well, I started in 2016 with Robbie’s Inspiration to spread the word about my books. That didn’t last long and I quickly started sharing posts about my fondant art, poetry, and baking. In 2018 I started Roberta Writes to share interesting historical titbits I discovered during my book research. I then discovered classical book clubs and, oh, what joy, to finally find a group of people who like the same books I do and don’t think I am either weird or an intellectual snob for reading them. My blog has changed and I share a lot of book reviews about classic books I have read and enjoyed. I also support a lot of other bloggers and writers by sharing about their books. I don’t share my own writing that often any more, just because I seem to have such a full agenda. I also try to do Thursday Doors every week.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Why do I blog? it started out as a record of our travels and to keep in touch with family but in truth, family don’t seem to read families blogs or sporadically…Living in a diverse community of many different nationalities I started sharing recipes for friends and some family etc and that seems to have snowballed…The environment happened later as I found much I wish I could change or in truth didn’t know and it seems many of us don’t we are kept in ignorance by those who should be informing us and hold our health in their hands and don’t…I found my soapbox late on that score…Of late I have thought about just stopping but I haven’t yet but the thought lingers but as covid has restricted travel what else can I do? Plus I enjoy conversing with people from around the world 🙂 x

    Liked by 1 person

  6. When I retired, I decided to write. I finally am on track with what I thought I’d be doing (trying to write children’s books for middle-grades—the kids I spent a lot of time with.) I don’t think I have a big ego, but I give it my best when I put myself into any endeavor. The reason I started a blog was simply to practice writing, though it’s not the same type of writing as what I’m doing on the side. What I get most out of it is simply engaging with people around the world.

    I’ve often asked myself how long I intend to do this. I don’t know the answer to my question, but it has to be stimulating and fun, or I’ll find something else to do. I’m always curious when longtime bloggers leave. Some quit writing without warning, and others tell us they’re going but may or may not give a reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    • From following your blog, what you say here is exactly what I’d expect of you! You write well and I always enjoy your posts.

      Like you, I’ve wondered how long I’ll keep this up: it has been just over nine years now, with some erratic periods, but it has become part of my life and I think I’d miss it. I too wonder why people stop after a long period, and always feel a little short changed if they don’t say goodbye!

      And I don’t think you have a big ego, either…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. athanks for a fun and thoughtful post, Clive. I first started blogging in response to a 30-day challenge. Once I reached the 30-day mark, I realized I liked writing, so I decided to go for 100, and then 1,000. At this point, it’s just something I do everday. And I know that as a results some days my blogs are pretty weak. I’m OK with that because at this point I think I have three primary reasons I blog – there’s a chance I’ll learn about something since I am writing about it, the blogging community has enabled me to chat with people all over the world, and there is the streak I want to keep going…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I was just about to say I have no intention of ever blogging daily or doing a challenge, then remembered last year I decided to ‘just’ do an advent calendar as a break from regular blogging. I enjoyed picking music for each of the 24 days, but of course it took much more time than my three blogs a week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve always posted a lot of music in December, even more than the rest of the year. Last year, for the first time, I combined my Facebook Christmas song of the day with the Advent Calendar I did on Instagram, into a blog version. I’ll meet you there!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You’ve got me right, Clive. I’ve never done NaNoWriMo for the same reason. I admire anyone who does it, gives it a go and has success doing it, but it isn’t for me, especially when I read blog posts in December from bloggers who are beating themselves up and feeling bad for not completing it. Then some think they have to apologise on their blog for not completing it. I just don’t get it. It isn’t for me, I’m afraid. I write for enjoyment and fun, not turning on myself and telling myself what a failure I am.

    But, as I mentioned earlier, I admire anyone who gives it a go.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Having tried the blogging version twice I’m with you all the way on this, Hugh. The final post I made in the second year of doing it spoke of my relief at finishing – blogging and writing shouldn’t make us feel like that. Mind you, December is approaching and it will be a busy month for me…

      Liked by 1 person

      • I always find December a quiet month in the blogging world, Clive. I always take a break from blogging for most of December to join in with the festivities. However, I still write posts that I can schedule for the new year. December is a great time to catch up on everything and to do some well-needed blog housekeeping. I’m always delighted when the world of blogging comes back to its usual self in January.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Not wrong, no. If you post everyday in December then it’s going to be a busy month. What I meant is that I see bloggers posting less regulayy during December. I’ve always seen it get less and less busy in the blogging world as we go deeper into December. Good luck with your posting schedule next month.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I was only joking! Yes, I’ve seen that pattern, too. Life takes over when people are preparing for the festivities. I go the other way with my Advent Calendar, a little bit of music and fun. Thanks for that support – I may well need it!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Clive, good question. I love that people share pieces of themselves. I am one that likes to learn and I feel if I pick up just one thing or reinforce other conceptions, it is helpful to me.

    I blog for my sanity. In a world where lying is not punished for what it is and truthfulness is not rewarded as it should be, I feel I can at least write what I believe is the truth. And, when I screw up, I try to remedy it. I also like to share vignettes of lessons I have learned or witness or just enjoyed.

    Keep writing, my friend. Keith

    Liked by 3 people

  11. My publisher suggested I start a blog so readers could get a taste of my writing and spread the word about my books. I soon realized it was a great way to make friends and learn from others and have never looked back. if I stopped blogging, I would miss it. (especially your Tuesday Tunes)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Your publisher did you – and us – a big favour, Darlene! I’ve found it the same, and have many blogs, such as yours, which are ‘must reads.’ Thank you for your kind words – it’s one of those blogging quirks that I kind of fell into Tuesday Tunes by accident!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. It’s an interesting question, Clive. And I expect you’ll get many different answers. I’d answer your question by saying, ‘because I have a passion for writing.’ And writing on a blog helped me achieve something else I have a passion for, ‘helping people.’ Now I combine the two together with some of the types of posts I write.

    I have heard of ‘National Blog Posting Month’ but have seen some bloggers do it in October rather than November. I recently got asked to join a group of bloggers publishing a blog every day in October but declined their offer because I didn’t want to stress myself out with writing something every day for a whole month. For me, writing is all about pleasure, not about having to force myself to do it. I don’t write every day, and my passion for writing has never dwindled because of it. For me, it’s all about the enjoyment and fun of writing.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thank you for such a full and thoughtful reply, Hugh. It sounds as though we are somewhat similar in approach, though I think you may be more dedicated than I!

      An interesting point about October. I guess anyone could choose a month and call it by that name, though if you Google it the large majority of links are to sites which count it as November. I hadn’t realised until I did the search that it is an offshoot of its equivalent for novels, which started earlier. In view of what you say about applying unnecessary pressure to yourself I doubt we’ll be seeing you in either!

      Liked by 1 person

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