I sometimes get questions from other writers wondering:
a) Should they start a blog?
b) How do I find time to blog?
c) Is the time commitment and effort worth it?
My answers are, in short: yes; you make time; and yes, a thousand times, yes.
Of course, we all have different definitions of “worth it.” My definition changes almost daily. Some days I spend the time my kids are at school or the babysitter’s working on a $100/hour writing project. That’s worth it by almost anyone’s definition. Other days, I spend that time reading, thinking, or writing a blog post – activities that generate zero direct income. Still worth it?
In my heart, I know the answer’s yes. I know this because of how I feel when I’m writing, when I get responses from readers, when I look back on over 6 years’ worth of writing I’ve published on my blog. If I look at my traffic numbers and bank balance, I risk plunging into the abyss of “Why bother?” I start to berate myself for “wasting time” blogging when I “should” be pitching, querying, marketing, networking, selling. (Even though I have learned over and over that trying harder is not always the solution.)
But then something like this happens: I was having breakfast with a friend who just had her second baby. She lost her mom to cancer when my friend was just 17. “I would give anything to know what she was thinking when we were little,” she told me. “To be able to ask her what it was like.”
And there it is. There’s my “why.” Part of it, anyway. I write and publish my blog to share my experiences and connect with others. But what keeps me going on the “why bother” days is the desire to record my thoughts, feelings, and experiences as a mother and a writer so that one day, my children may look back on it and know what it was really like. They will know just how messy our house was and what their early artwork looked like. They can show their future therapists that I took pictures of them wearing underwear on their heads.
And this record of our lives is not just for my kids. If I had a dime for every time I’VE re-read my old posts and remembered things I’ve forgotten in just a few short years, I wouldn’t have to even THINK about my hourly rate. I’d be too busy shopping up a storm at Nordstrom. Or, you know, Target. Let’s keep it real.
At the end of the “Listen to Your Mother” show I attended recently, where mom bloggers did live readings on stage, the host read a quote from Susan Niebur, a DC mother, blogger, and NASA scientist who died from inflammatory breast cancer earlier this year. LTYM helped raise money in her name. Niebur’s personal mantra was this:
All that survives after our death are publications and people. So look carefully after the words you write, the thoughts and publications you create, and how you love others. For these are the only things that will remain.
How about you? What’s your “why”?