Monday, March 05, 2007

Why do I blog?


The Koi and goldfish are active and ravenous, and, I heard a bullfrog practicing his vocals tonight!

Why blog?

Some have asked me, “What’s a blog?”, or, “Why are you a blogger?” The latter is a good question and one I’ve been pondering lately. Here are a few reasons I’ve given to those who asked and reasons I've analyzed.

1. I’m an empty nester, have moved to a new state twice in less than five years and I haven’t made good old friends who will listen to me ramble. My own husband, the engineer type, doesn’t listen to me, either. He sees right or wrong, black or white, and no gray area between. I often hear from him, “Just give me the facts. Just the facts.” When I attempt to expound on the beauty of it all or give mention to the why, how, or maybe in a situation, my ramble falls on deaf ears.

2. I like to write. My writing is more like “spitting it out and never looking back”, unlike most of the talented writers I have recently met in cyberspace. I’ll bet if I saw a paragraph describing a snowfall from someone in my blogging community, I’d be able to identify the writer without seeing the author’s name. The first blog I ever read was Julie’s, back in September 2006. I read her short stories, dipped into her archives, and savored every word she wrote. It took me a few weeks to get the courage to post a comment on her blog. Yes, I was very intimidated but she and Jane, Chet’s breeder, gave me a verbal kick in the butt to do it.

In the beginning…what you do

You start out by setting up your blog and putting a lot of thought into it because you want your template to reflect your personal tastes and individuality. You post your first blog entry and from then on, you continue to tweak your website until you’re satisfied with its appearance. The formidable Blogger gods beat you up with technical errors and scare you until you might reach the point of either putting your fist through the monitor or giving up on the whole damned idea.

You post nearly every day and no one comments – for a long time. Timidly, you post a comment on someone’s blog (previewing it first) and even check out their blogroll and post a comment or two for complete strangers to view. Before you know it, you are getting comments. One today, two tomorrow… It’s a surprise for you and a pleasant one, too.

Now you have people checking in to see what you are up to and you find yourself on their blogroll. For me, it’s an honor. Your own blogroll starts to lengthen and you’re happy to add new friends to it and develop good relationships with people that you have never laid eyes on. These new friends have distinct personalities and interests but all of them share a common bond with you…the desire to share parts of their lives, internal feelings, and daily activities through words and sometimes pictures.

The comments you send and receive are usually affirming and/or witty. Do you enjoy comments? Is this what keeps you blogging? My answer is a definite yes - it is a good incentive for me; however, the attraction to the commenting chatter is far from what my original plan included, though. When I decided to start this journal, I remember feeling this way,

Who cares about comments? I wouldn’t care if no one read my blog because it’s my own business, anyway. I’ll just enjoy the writing, picture-taking, and receiving the instant gratification of publishing something I made with my own pea-brain and little nimble fingers.

Sometimes, I think comments are even as entertaining as the post itself. I get a kick out of reading comments from people like Swami at Yak Herder Central. Correction: there are no others like Swami. Comments sometimes reveal the real person behind the blog and can be quite inspiring and amusing!

Giving them what they want…

For the past five months, I’ve knocked myself out, driving and running around like a crazed woman chasing hawks and standing motionless in my backyard for hours and hours, waiting for a lifer to visit my feeder. A daily dose of joy. My sometimes wacky behavior feeds my blog but it doesn’t drive it. I’ve been asked by those very close to me, “Why do you have to always post about birds? People get tired of that.” “Can’t you post about dogs more often?” “Don’t you care about your pond anymore?” “You need to start ranting more often, people like to laugh.” A very dear friend in Maryland wrote to me and said she was disappointed that I’m not reviewing American Idol shows on my blog. Well, what can I do?! That would be three posts a week about AI and no one would like that. Last year I wrote hilarious AI reviews to a lengthy list of e-mail recipients. I just can’t do that anymore because there are not enough hours in my day.

You can’t please all of the people all of the time. Sure, I want to give them what they want, but isn’t that like letting the “Tail Wag the Dog”? There is pressure to continually deliver but if I can come up with five fresh, new ideas that inspire me every week, I’ll be a happy blogger, with or without the comments. But, honestly, I’d miss my friends and their comments. I won’t lie about it.


Is this the Spring molt beginning on this little Goldfinch?


Ruth said...

Well Mary, your blog is unique and entertaining. It is interesting to read a person's blog from the beginning and see how their writing and ideas have evolved. I hope you keep it up!

NatureWoman said...

Mary, you've described some of how I felt at the beginning, too! In fact, I was questioning today why I blog and why I call my blog Nature Woman when I haven't talked about nature lately. I should have really thought the name out more, but it was last spring and blogging about nature is easy in the spring/summer/fall!
I love your blog, and you can blog about whatever the heck you want - I'll be here to read it, and I know others will be too!

LauraHinNJ said...

Blah, blah, blah - birds,dogs,ponds, blah, blah, blah.


Who are these faceless, comment-less people criticizing our dear Mary?


I say write about whatever feeds your joy, Mary. I'll read it and smile.

Maybe if you wrote about American Idol I might find myself interested enough to actually watch it!

Susan Gets Native said...

Not to "psychologize" you or anything but:
I think that every blogger who takes her or his blog seriously gets into this phase of "why do I blog" and "how has blogging affected my life?"
I am too loopy on Nyquil to give you any deep comment. I just love your blog and you, too!

Anonymous said...

I found most people think blogs are for politics or complaining about something! Truth is that it is about communicating all those things that are important or not important us as bloggers! I don't visit those political blogs because its not my thing! But, I always enjoy my daily visit to see the wonderful things that happened during your day (might it be a bird, your dog or just a few great pictures!) I love your writing and you encurage to keep on writing in mine also! Keep doing what your doing!

dmmgmfm said...

I love your blog! I don't care what you write about, I enjoy it. Your pictures are lovely and your passion for all things earthy makes me smile each and every day.

I loved that you told us why you started your blog, and I can relate because someone who wishes not to be named ever again on my blog (does that make him swwntbneaomb?)doesn't ever want to talk about anything of interest to me, so my outlet for that is my blog. Kind of like you. :)

Anyway, this long, rambling, I'm too tired to think comment is just to tell you I "heart" you and your blog. And I would miss you something awful if you stopped posting.

Cathy said...

Mary - This was good! I mean really good. I guess that's about the best description of 'why we blog' that I'm likely to read. Dang! All that and a molting Goldfinch to boot. You keep those bird pictures coming and the heck with anyone suggesting otherwise:0)

Jayne said...

I agree with Laura...we blog about what is in our minds and hearts at any given time. Some days, there's not much in my mind to share, and so I let a photo be the focus. Other days, I really want to expound upon something in my head. Like you Mary, the relationships I've developed since blogging have uplifted me and given me such joy. And, it is all such a creative outlet for me when I had become pretty stagnant in my life in terms of creativity. It's mine, my life, my thoughts, my journey and it's a joy to share it with people like you.

Mary said...

Ruth, I'll keep it up, for sure. Sometimes I really need to evaluate it, that's all.

Pam, how can you blog about nature when your doors are frozen shut?

Laura, I'll incorporate AI in one of my posts and see how you like it :o)

Susan, I hope you feel better soon and you can "psychologize" me whenever you want.

Mon@rch, I'm with you on the political thing. I won't step into politics or religion, either.

Laurie, it's nice to hear we have more in common than blogging... ;o)

Cathy, what others tell me goes in one ear and out of the other, but I consider them, though.

Jayne, you are a joy and my first stop each morning.

dguzman said...

You described just how I felt at the beginning too; I couldn't help but smile. I love your blog, and you can write about what you want. I've had my own experience with people "challenging" me on what I've written; I say, "if you don't like it, don't read it." I blog for myself and for my blog-iverse friends. Everyone else can blow it out their old wah-zoo!

And yes, I think that goldfinch is changing his outfit--spring is coming! Great photo!

KGMom said...

Mary--I reflected on blogging a while back--why I do it, why I read other people's blogs. I think you nailed it.
I am going to send a link to your blog to my sister who has just decided to start blogging.
The first blog I read was Natural Notes--and she linked to LaurieHinNJ which linked me to Julie etc. I found some other blog friends on my own, but your description of tentatively reading blogs, then posting comments rings very true.
As for subject matter--I enjoy all that you write. Just don't do anything crazy to keep your blog readers happy. Drive safely! Walk carefully! Etc.
And keep those photos coming.

Mary said...

Delia, I've said the same thing, "If you don't like it, don't read it!" You rock.

Donna, I'll drive safely and walk carefully, for sure! I already have screws and pins in one ankle and don't wish it on the other...

Lynne at Hasty Brook said...

Mary- you are a dear and I'd have a hole in my day if I couldn't stop in and visit and see what you have to share. You joyful and generous spirit is evident in whatever you chose to blog about.

Anonymous said...

Writing about why you write was interesting, Mary. And, yes, you described us all.
For myself, I tend more toward a visual blog, but love to read what others say.
Do you find yourself setting up photo shots in your sleep???

Mary said...

Lynne, thanks for being patient with my rants and ramlings... You are too sweet.

Sandy, yes, I have dreamt of photo shots. I also lie awake and wonder what the next subject of my post will be... Ugghh.

Anonymous said...

I don't blog mainly because I am too busy trolling your blog site as well as those you have linked to. I can however tell you why you least from my vantage point. It's because all of you feel so sorry for us poor schmoo's who have nothing better to read over our coffee than the days depressing newspapers. You and those others like Julie, Swami and Naturewoman are very social minded folks who believe that bringing joy and positive mental stimulation into the minds of the masses is far better than informing us who made a better mousetrap or atomic bomb. Keep those bird pics, boston antics and nature walks coming...I would much rather start my day with a smile over my coffee in the morning.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Jane's got it--we do it for HER!
I really enjoyed reading your synopsis and found myself nodding in agreement, especially about whether or not a blog drives a life. If the need to blog makes us get out for a walk or photo shoot when we might normally be wonking away at the computer or watching TV, then I say, all hail blogging!
Looking at the comments, it seems to be mostly a chick thing going on here. Which is nice.
Then there's our secret plan to cover the earth in well-bred and well-loved Boston terriers...shhhhh.

sonia a. mascaro said...

Love that post, Mary! Very well written and very clever, too!