The “why I blog” meme, which Emily tagged me for, is a good subject to take up tonight because I’ve been feeling uninspired by the blog lately, and I’m hoping that by writing about blogging I can get some inspiration and enthusiasm back. I’m as excited as ever to read everybody else’s posts, but often these days when I sit down to write my own, I find that I have no energy for it. I’m sure this is a passing phase, probably caused by my illness, and I’ll get back into it sooner or later.
But this brings me to one reason I blog, not the most important one, definitely, but a reason nonetheless: I like the discipline of it. I like it that I have a pattern of writing 5 or 6 times a week that I’ve kept up for over a year now, and that I do it even when I don’t particularly feel like it. I like it that people are out there who read me and would notice if I stopped and would wonder what happened to me. And I also like it that when I don’t feel like blogging but I sit down to do it anyway, almost always as I write I start to enjoy myself and by the end of the post, I’ve got more energy than I had when I started. Right now, as a matter of fact, I’m feeling better than I was when I started my first paragraph. Riding my bike works this way too; I’m often reluctant to start, but once I get going, I’m happy I did.
There are also book-related reasons I blog, many of which Litlove described in her own response to the meme. I blog because I want a record of the thoughts in my head and my responses to the books I read. I blog because I want to be a part of the book-blogging community I’ve found. I blog because I want to offer other people my book suggestions just as I get suggestions from so many of them. I want to be a better reader and I hope to become so by writing regularly about what I read. I want to take part in book groups, which get me reading things I wouldn’t otherwise.
There’s another reason I blog, which isn’t so high-minded as the previous ones: I like the attention. I’m thrilled when people read my posts, subscribe to my blog feed, leave comments, link to me, pick up on ideas I’ve written about. In person, I’m not an attention-seeker; in fact, I’ll go out of my way to avoid drawing attention to myself. I’m not a particularly good talker, and I’m dreadful at getting people’s attention in large groups. I talk as a teacher, yes, and lots of people pay attention to me in the classroom, but — and maybe this is why I like teaching — they pay me attention automatically, without my having to work for it. Even as a teacher, though, I tend to deflect attention from myself, trying to get students to discuss and debate, for example, or having them work in groups.
So, all that to say, blogging is a way I can get people to pay attention to me without me having to talk. It’s a wonderful thing, I think, that almost everything that goes on online is written (I will almost certainly never do a podcast). I like having the time to think about things before I post or comment or add something to a discussion board. Discussions happen quickly online, but I still have enough time to ponder and reflect.
Okay — much better now! I’m ready to soldier on.