I've been reading a book called 'Start with Why' by Simon Sinek. I'm only about 60 pages in, but already, its inspired me and made me focus on why I do things.
Why I blog is something I think about a lot. Its hard not to, I read other peoples thoughts on it fairly often, I read blogs where bloggers blog for money or as their living and blogs where they blog their interests very specifically. I guess my blog has become one of those, but I've struggled recently with the boundaries of being a photography blog, mainly because I haven't really felt like taking photos. Definitely a problem if people come here expecting photos.
So why do I blog? I thought about this a lot during my time away from here.
Well first, I love to type. It sounds a bizarre first reason, but its definitely my favourite way to record my thoughts - I started a written journal recently, and although I have enjoyed it, I haven't enjoyed it as much as typing my blog. Its faster I guess, it uses both arms, it feels more involved, I can think and type at the same speed... there are lots of reasons, but really, I just like typing my thoughts.
Second, I love sharing my thoughts and stories. I can be quite restricted in what I'm willing to share, but I like pulling my words together to tell a story to you, and I like beefing it up with photos. Sometimes the photos tell the story but lately, I've been more courageous with my words. Its easy to hide behind photos - you let the viewer make the connections and form their own reactions - but words are where the specificity is and ultimately my soul may be in my photos but my voice is in my words.
Third, I like making connections. With people, with blogs, with skills, with hobbies. I like connecting to others, sharing ideas, reading about peoples lives and blogging lets me do that easily. Thomas is often surprised by how much information I can tell him about the people who leave comments - the same with the blog friends I've met in real life. I like getting to know people and sharing in their life's, you might be surprised by how much I remember about the connections that I've made too :)
Fourth, I want to inspire people. To make people smile, to improve someone's day and its nice to think that my photos or words could do that for someone. I want my connections to flow both ways.
I've been blogging for nearly 5 years now, and its only really recently that I've truly appreciated that I do blog for me without trying - for my peace of mind, for organising my thoughts - I don't really do it just to share photos. When I've been struggling, I've tried to pull my thoughts together into blog posts in my head to find solutions, ways I could share my thoughts and make them worthwhile. I like the structure of writing things out and forming a conclusion.
The worst part of blogging, for me, is the expectations I think - guessing them, getting them right, getting them wrong... you can never tell what will be popular with readers, why they are really here. And that inconsistently used to upset me. Especially when I had more readers yet didn't seem to get the page views or comments. I never really knew why my blog got so popular in terms of followers at one stage, I didn't do anything specific, in fact I don't feel like my blog really changed much at all. Similarly, I don't know why all those people disappeared either. Numbers are weird and you can't really rely on them. Unless you rely on them being inconsistent haha.
The numbers don't really matter to me now. I don't benefit from them financially or emotionally. Like I said before, I'd rather focus on the connections, on the real people, the comments, the interactions.
Blogging for me has become a ritual, something I do most week days because I enjoy it rather than as a job and I want to keep it that way to be honest. I see people pushing their blogs forward and I'm happy for them - if that's what they want to do then they have my support - but what I've finally learnt is that if its not your own path - then don't take it and don't feel bad about it.
Blog for your why, not for someone elses. You have your own path, the hard part is recognising it as well as walking on it. Think about your why and focus on those when you make decisions, when you write posts - the why should be the only consistent thing and everything else - either expected or unexpected - will come from that.
I'm intrigued now - whats are your whys for blogging? What really drives you to share, to tell stories, to connect with others? There are no wrong answers :)