Yesterday I offered a sweepstake: the person who won could ask me to write 500 words on a topic of their choice. As it happens two people said exactly the same answer, so here is entry one of two. Adelle asked me to write 500 words on “why you blog and what you get out of it OR puddings”. Tempting as puddings are, I'm going for the former...
First, a definition: as far as I am concerned, blogging does not just mean “writing a blog”. That’s part of it, certainly, but just as vital are reading other people’s blogs, commenting and moderating comments, sharing links to interesting blogs written by other people, etc. If you just write without doing any of the rest of it, you’re Doing It Wrong.
That out of the way, there are several reasons why I blog.1, Habit.
I’ve been doing it for over 15 years, now. I started before the term “blog” was even a thing (yes, of course, on LiveJournal), and I continue now it’s old hat and out of fashion. Very often I get the thought “I must write something about that”, and almost a quarter of the time I actually get around to doing it.
When I got out of the habit of blogging for a while when my depression was really bad, it made things far worse. I lost some of the web of connections which strengthens my feeble grasp on sanity. This was not a good thing. I am glad I have reaquired the habit, if not quite as prolifically as at some points in the past.2, Mental Health
It helps me, a lot of the time, to get things down. Sometimes just writing it helps, sometimes posting it publicly helps; often it’s the easiest way to tell loved ones what I am thinking. For example: this morning I have been turning the nightmare I had last night into a fic which may or may not get posted publicly later; the nightmare is now less scary because I’ve pinned it down to the screen and made it squirm.
Additionally, like Andy has
, I have found that my friends tell me that my blogging helps them; both in understanding where I am coming from and in clearing their own thoughts, or even just so that they know they are not alone in thinking or feeling X or Y. Every time I think I have overshared, someone will post a comment or send me an email or a twitter DM saying “thank you for posting that, it really helped me to deal with a similar thing”, or words to that effect.3, Community
If I didn’t blog I wouldn’t have such a strong and diverse friends group full of interesting people. I reckon 90% of the friends that I really value I met through blogging, and a further 5% on top of that are people I met online before ever blogging. My attitude to blogging and it’s component parts is shared by a lot of others, and thus a little overlapping set of communities are formed, and it’s genuinely the biggest, most lifechanging thing I have ever been involved in. I met all my current partners either directly or indirectly as a result of blogging. I joined a political party because of blogging. I can’t overstate the importance of blogging to me, really.and I think you'll find that's exactly 500 words ;)