Why Do You Blog?

My blogging philosphy is pretty simple. I can explain it with a Venn diagram.

Have time

See?

Sometimes I feel like blogging, so I do. Sometimes I have time but I don’t feel like blogging, so I do other stuff instead. I’m not a professional blogger on a schedule. It’s more fun that way. I like to write a post or two a month, but I don’t beat myself up if it doesn’t happen. I don’t need to create more sources of stress for myself! Gee whiz, as my mom would say.

(Curiously, I always get the urge to blog when I’m supposed to be doing something else, but it’s not too late to procrastinate, like when I still believe I’m going to get all my lessons planned in advance. Has that happened in the history of EVER? Um no. Sorry, Lansad students.)

I started blogging just because I wanted to. I didn’t really know why, and I felt a little stupid about it because there are SO many blogs – what could I really add to the clamor on the internet?

But I did anyway, because why not? I wanted to see if I liked writing, if I was good at it, what I would enjoy writing about, and I was surprised. I thought I would be a better writer than I am (but how will I improve if I don’t ever write anything?) and I didn’t think anyone would care about my personal musings – I thought I would focus on more useful posts about living in France. That’s all I was looking for in a blog when I was scouring the internet four years ago, preparing to move to France.

My posts can mostly be divided as follows: practical posts about teaching English and living in France, rants about France, ramblings about life, and posts on travel. The practical posts are by far the most viewed, but rants and ramblings get the most interaction. No one gives a f… that is, a fig about my travel posts but I write them anyway because I like to. I like having a virtual scrapbook of memories and photos. I can’t keep up with it in real time, but I get there sooner or later (#slowblogging). Sometimes I write a post and then I realize it’s stupid. Sometimes I publish it anyway.

A little while back, a friend made a poorly-veiled comment about my blog that pissed me off and hurt my feelings a little, and now I feel the need to defend my little corner of virtual personal internet space. None of us like being judged, especially unfairly so, and aren’t your friends the people who are supposed to, like, not do that?

Anyone who knows me knows that I am my own worst critic for everything, including things that matter and things that really, really don’t. I’m not an artful storyteller like Jodi from Legal Nomads or a word wizard like The Everywhereist (everything she writes is gold. Gold, I tell you), and I know that my photos aren’t works of art (hello, my camera is an iPhone 4s). Sometimes I read what I write and I hate my stilted writing style and annoying voice and compulsive overuse of parentheses. WHY AM I NOT ABLE TO TAKE A YOGA SCULPT CLASS AND TURN IT INTO QUOTABLE HILARITY?! (Maybe because I don’t go to yoga sculpt class. And I would never admit to peeing on myself on the internet.)

I particularly hate the introductions to any post where I make a list because they feel so contrived. I’m working on one right now but maybe I won’t publish it. I probably shouldn’t confess how much I don’t like French cheese anyway.

I don’t really stress about this stuff too much, though. I like ranting about the prefecture on my little blog, and I like when people write me nice comments (thank you!) and I kind of like posting seventy million photos because I just couldn’t narrow it down (sorry about that). I’ve been though more blog themes than I can count (the free wordpress.com kind) and I like the one I have now. I think it’s nice. You are under no obligation to agree.

I can’t remember who shared this post by The Local about Americans in France – a couple people, I think – but I couldn’t help cracking up at the description of American bloggers in France.

“You’ll find this Yankee at one of the nearest hipster cafés… Instagramming their €5 cappuccino. The title of their blog is something like “An American Girl in Paris”, “Ma Belle Vie”, or some clever wordplay of their name and a couple French words…they’ll probably also dedicate blog space to bemoaning French bureaucracy and recounting their daily expat mishaps and cultural clashes, which can be embarrassing (but cute and funny for the rest of us).”

Guilty as charged! Am I so unoriginal? I am morally opposed to €5 cappuccinos, but I would definitely, definitely take a few “artistic” shots of it. With my iPhone 4s.

Anyway, I’ll keep blogging however I want until I don’t feel like it anymore. Is that cool with you?

If you blog, why did you start? Has your blog changed over time?

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14 thoughts on “Why Do You Blog?

  1. Love this post! I’ve been blogging for ages – like before everyone and their brother had a blog. It was such a small community back then, and you didn’t feel like you were writing for the public.

    In recent years, I’ve been turned off blogging (though I still read many people’s blogs) as it’s become a lot more “marketing” and “personal branding” blah blah blah (I should probably mention that content marketing is my line of work so that really shouldn’t annoy me that much, but it does – quite possibly because I see it for what it is.).

    I keep telling myself that I should start blogging again as I really did like it, but then, something holds me back. Like I can’t just blog about whatever I feel like blogging about in the way that I used to. If that makes any sense at all…

    1. I’m always torn because I do want to write useful information as well as my own rambling, but I hate the disappointing clickbait drivel that makes so many blogs annoying and sometimes I catch myself writing useless crap, the horror! Content marketing sounds like an interesting field to work in. Before I was a lectrice and I was looking for a job outside of teaching but didn’t know what to do, I was drawn to a lot of content marketing jobs with a blogging-like component, so I thought maybe I should try writing stuff before going down that road… Anyway, thank you for reading my blog! I’ll try to stay away from any blahblahness 🙂

      1. I haven’t been around your blog too too long, but I haven’t noticed any clickbait type things. I’ve found nice personal stories, beautiful photos, and useful posts for those hoping to live or teach in France 🙂

        Back in the day, useful information wasn’t necessary found in many blogs (and it definitely wasn’t the go to source – we used to be on forums!). It was more about the personal stories and ramblings which is probably why I still enjoy that much more.

        Content marketing is interesting, and I like it. It’s not just about blogging. That said, in France, it isn’t too well respected yet and mostly delegated to interns, so finding an actual job isn’t easy.

      2. Thank you, that’s encouraging to hear 🙂

        Eesh, and I feel like job hunting in France can be hard enough as it is! Are there opportunities to work remotely for American or British companies? Let’s hope France catches up in content marketing soon…

  2. Definitely keep blogging and don’t let snide comments get in your way! I blog for a lot of reasons, not the least that I’ve done it pretty much since blogs existed—great reason, right? I think I subscribe to the blogs I read because I like the writer’s voice, but that means so many different things, and I don’t think it serves any purpose to try to blog like someone else. There are things that I find annoying in some blogs, very similar to the things Shannon mentioned, but I would never want to disparage someone else’s outlet.

    1. Thanks! That’s a nice way to look at it. I agree, I started reading blogs just looking for information, but now I just like certain bloggers’ writing voices no matter what the topic is. When I started I thought there was a “right” way to blog, and it’s nice to know that a lot of people think that’s not the case.

  3. Seconding that you should definitely keep blogging and I enjoy all your posts! 🙂

    I want to pretend I started blogging as a way to keep in touch with family & friends, but honestly, it was mostly because I read other peoples’ blogs and though, “huh, I bet I could do that too”. And it’s been really fun! Although, I need a strict-ish post once a week schedule because otherwise I find I never feel like blogging – it’s something I enjoy “having done” but not “doing”, if that makes sense.

    1. Thank you, that’s so nice! I like that you can make a random assortment of daily life events into an interesting blog post that’s fun to read. It reminds me that I can blog about whatever little things I want without making a big thing on a TOPIC. You are more disciplined than I am – I absolutely cannot make myself blog if I’m not in the mood! Sometimes I make a list of all the posts I could write on a transatlantic flight when I’ll have lots of time, but then I get on the plane and I Don’t Feel Like It. Oh well!

  4. I have been blogging on and off using various platforms since 2003. Early on my blog was what facebook is now. Short updates about my life. Back then even though almost nobody read my blog I got comments. For awhile I blogged a bunch of snarky political stuff. That was actually the period I got he most readers. I realized that wasn’t who I wanted to be so I shut that down. Around 2010 I tried to be a more professional blogger and started a self help blog that quickly fizzled out. Now I blog for myself. When I decided to blog for myself and not worry about stats or anything is when I started blogging regularly. My blog now is more stuff I am telling myself. If others find it interesting that just makes it better.

    I still do have a tech focused blog I run but haven’t posted on forever. I have adds on it and people still go there even though It hasn’t been regularly updated for almost a year. If I don’t feel like blogging I don’t

    I took a break from blogging in summer 2014 and didn’t know if I would get back to it. But after a few months I found myself thinking, “I should blog this” about things that happened to me. That’s when I knew it was time to get back at it.

    I know this is kinda rambling. I love blogging both reading and writing them. They are like doors into other people lives.

    1. Wow, what an interesting journey of blogging! It’s nice that you’ve tried lots of different kinds of blogging and can just blog for yourself when you feel like it now. Blogging is a unique thing that can take many forms, for sure!

  5. I’m afraid I might be too close to that “Yankee” description for comfort… but I don’t mind. Half the reason I blog is because I love to write and write what I WANT to write, and half the reason is to connect with like-minded people. I’ve been able to do both!

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