What’s Your ‘Why’?

by Abby on June 1, 2012

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”?

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Ali June 1, 2012 at 8:10 am

You nailed it! I once started a blog for the sake of getting my name out there, gaining loyal readers, and eventually a writing a career. Unfortunately, my own family couldn’t be bothered to read my blog, so I shut it down feeling completely dispirited and resentful.

Then I had my baby boy, and I started another blog and wrote for no one else but him. I have more readers now than before (in and around 15 – meh), but I don’t care. I have memories preserved for him, with my own ‘voice’ to go along with it. And, bonus, it keeps my writing abilities sharp and toned, you know? So even if I never have a writing career (gasp!), I will not regret my blog for this reason.

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jetts31 June 1, 2012 at 11:00 am

I never thought of my blog as a personal record but it makes total sense. When your friend said, “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.”
It hit home as to why there is no need for money or fame from anything I write for it to be important and needed.

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Corey Feldman June 1, 2012 at 11:07 am

Makes sense. I have had a blog since before the term blog existed. Once I found what I really wanted to write about – my battles with depression and anxiety and getting my Egret the elephant stories out there, in hopes of publishing some day, I made it a regular commitment. I audience has grown tremendously. And I know I have helped people and made them happy. Speaking of Susan, my last Egret Poem/Story I wrote in her honor.

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Kim June 1, 2012 at 8:10 pm

There are two reasons I keep returning to my blog Abby: (1) I want my daughters to have it in the future, to know about my struggles as a mom and about how much I love them, and (2) to think and understand my days through my favorite thing to do, write. I agree with this post so much, and when I feel guilty about spending my time on my blog or spend a long time away from it, I feel so much better when I return to my blog and write.

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Abby June 3, 2012 at 9:09 pm

Kim! So good to hear from you! I’m glad you’re still blogging. Reminds me to stop by your blog…

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Holly from 300 Pounds Down June 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

I like the phrase I’ve seen around “Blogging is cheaper than therapy” ROFL!! To me that is the truth! Of course a portion of both is better lol but the reality is that there is a community of individuals out there and odd as it sounds…we often learn much from those who leave us comments. And I learn tons from the blogs I read.

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Abby June 3, 2012 at 9:16 pm

That IS the truth, I agree! I’ve written whole posts on that!

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