I blog for different reasons, and I blog in different ways. Sometimes I write thoughtful responses to certain issues that I/we face and experience (especially women); sometimes I write light, funny posts; sometimes it is just an update on something in my life (pregnancy, going sugar-free, etc), and other times it is simply to vent. I write to encourage others, provoke thought, speak truth into cultural lies, make people laugh, and also as therapy or a hobby for myself.
When I first started blogging, it was mostly for myself. I would say, “I don’t care if a single soul reads my blog, it’s just so good for me to write! I love it.” But then I started learning that (gasp!) I have readers! And not just like my mom and my grandmother (although I’m so glad that they do read 🙂 ), but quite a few readers. Friends from church, college, high school, IV staff, former students, family friends, slight acquaintances, and even people I have never met. As a matter of fact, one of my Chapel Hill friends randomly met one of my high school friends once and, realizing they both knew me, talked about how they had read my blog. This was so surprising and humbling to me. I couldn’t believe that this many people would care in the least bit what I had to say. This motivated me to write even more. It has been so fun interacting with my readers and to talking to some of them in person about some of the things I have written about. But then something started to happen. I started writing for them. I would try to think of things my readers would enjoy reading about, and would get giddy as I anticipated commiserating or encouraging comments, “likes” on my facebook link, or messages in my email/facebook inbox. This is all really good, and it has been really fun! But somewhere over time, I realize that I have stopped blogging for myself. And now when I write posts that get little or no response from my readers, I have found myself feeling disappointed, rejected, and as if I’ve wasted a couple of hours of work. I’ve lost the invigorating, satisfying feeling of writing for myself; and therefore have sensed my love for writing slipping through my fingers.
I still want to write for others too, and look forward to the great fun that is interacting with my readers! But from now on, I want to create a little more space to write for myself too. I want to write posts that are full of things on my mind, that I want to sort through, record, or release in an abandoned way, not driven by whether or not people read it or like it. I want to feel the refreshing freedom of writing recklessly. Not editing every word. Not polishing and re-polishing, obsessively checking for comments. Just letting it loose, with my hands typing away in perfect sync with my mind. Maybe someone will really connect with something I say. Maybe someone else will want to encourage me, share their own thoughts and experience, or bring up questions. But maybe they won’t, and that will be OK too. Because my heart and mind are important, regardless of whether or not they are seen or appreciated. Because writing is something I love. Because writing is not my job, it is my hobby, and I want to enjoy every second of it!
So later today, I think I’ll write for myself. I’ve had a hard day. Maybe I’ll write about it. 😉
“Writing is a struggle against silence.” –Carlos Fuentes