At times since I started blogging on New Year's Day of 2011 I've wondered why I continue. Maintaining my personal blog (and now a podcast) essentially represents the work of a part time job in the midst of a life already very full with two small children, two full time working parents, and a rich community of friends and family to keep up with. Oh and for which I earn zero dollars. When I'm consistently publishing and have time to dedicate to my blog I love blogging. When I fall behind on regular posts and dwell on all that I wish I could do with my blog but don't have time for the whole endeavor feels like an obligation. And yet I keep coming back to it.
I've even found that in the midst of a very busy life - like when I'm going back to work after maternity leave - I feel even more creative and dedicated to blogging. So I've been thinking a lot about why I'm still blogging and why I'll continue to blog, even if I only ever earn zero dollars.
+ Keep a personal record. I am not a scrapbooker. I still haven't made a photo book of my wedding photos (it's a miracle that I made these) so having blog posts like this one and this one to look back at are priceless. There's tons of stuff that happens in my life that I don't blog about but I've captured lots of our great memories here.
+ Process my thoughts. My mind works in blog posts. I'm almost constantly thinking, "I should write a post about this!" I'm not sure if it's because I've been blogging for several years and am prone to think of new content or (more likely) that I love to organize my thoughts into lists, helpful ideas and readable chunks. Often after I blog about something I feel a sense of relief, like a pressing idea was finally captured.
+ Share experiences and offer support. I love the online communities that I have found through reading blogs (Soule Mama is the first blog I ever read) and by sharing my own experiences I hope that readers will find support, inspiration and helpful information. When I get emails telling me that a post was helpful or "just what I needed right now" the work of blogging feels so worth it.
+ To meet new people. Connecting with others about motherhood, creative projects, personal finances, whatever gives me the warm fuzzies. I love making these connections in real life as well but blogging can so easily connect you to so many people and to people you would never come across in your every day life. The internet and blogging feel like magic when I connect with someone new and feel that spark of "oh wow, you feel that too!"
+ Practice writing. I love to write, I need to write. This blog offers endless blank pages for me to fill in whatever way I want. There are no rules and no oversight, which is unlike any other professional work that I do. I can write lists and quick thoughts. Or I can stretch my writing muscles and write with more depth. To become great at your craft you need to practice every day and I am thankful to have this space to write, write, write.
+ As a creative outlet. Until just a couple years ago I didn't identify myself as a creative person. And then I realized that being a creative person doesn't mean that you make art all day and it doesn't mean that you aren't working really hard at something. Being creative, to me, means that you love to think of new ideas and try them out. I realized I've been a creative person all along. I'm constantly jotting notes in a notebook or on my phone for things I want to do with my blog and podcast or for completely new projects I would love to try. The more I create the more creative ideas I have. Having platforms (blog and podcast) to try out those ideas and as springboards for other ideas is essential to nurturing my creativity and creativity is an essential part of my identity.
+ To create opportunities. Without this blog I never would have published a story in Remedy Quarterly, started a podcast, been a guest on other podcasts or presented about podcasting at a conference. In many ways this blog is my creative portfolio and by continually growing it I am not only nurturing my creativity but also planting seeds of opportunity. It would be amazing if one day I could work full time on blogging, writing projects and podcasting. On one of our podcasts last year when we were talking about creative work, Erica said, "Opportunity finds you working." I love that so much. If ultimately I'd like the opportunity to work on these creative projects full time then I'd better keep working.
Thank you so much for reading, this would be a really lonely endeavor without you!