The thing about blogging is that it is so easy to forget why you write. I’ve been blogging for going on seven years (not always on WordPress) and have lost sight of my purpose so many times I can’t even count.
You see, it’s so easy to get sidetracked for so many different reasons.
The most alluring distraction, personally, is the desire for followers. You want high statistics and you want them now. Blog envy creeps in. You begin to ask, “Why does this person have so many followers and I don’t?” It becomes about the numbers. You post just to get your name out there, to get hits and views. As time goes on, post quality decreases. You begin posting for the sake of putting stuff out there and getting even higher stats.
Fun fact about this. Sometime last spring, I conducted an experiment. I composed a short poem and published it on the spot. The writing quality was terrible. It wasn’t even a poem, just a handful of crappy abstract lines spaced apart from each other. What’s funny is that it resulted in a handful of new followers.
Then there’s the other side of the coin: having impossible standards. Last semester, I was in a class on Innovative Creative Writing. I learned a lot about the writing process, but more importantly, learned that I never want to be a professional writer. The idea of writing novels, editing, and publishing is akin to having my nails ripped off. But my classmates were all extremely pretentious and, in order to keep up, I had to play along. It severely impacted my blogging. Posting almost never happened and, when it did, I second guessed everything. It took months to get to the point where I was comfortable writing again.
Those are the two ends of the spectrum. I lie somewhere in the middle, dashing to and fro. It all goes down to this: Why do I write? Do I write for an audience, to get followers and attention? If so, am I willing to sacrifice quality to achieve this goal? Or, are my standards so high that nothing gets posted? And, though, good, will the content that makes the cut even be seen? Which end of the spectrum is better?
My answer: neither.
It’s not like these are bad things. I want people to read the words I pen and I want those words to be good ones. But as a focus, as fuel for my blog, neither capture the heart and soul of what I want to accomplish.
I write for myself. I write for expression. I write to preserve my twenty two year old self so someday I can look back and see how far I have come. I write for the pure joy of putting words on a page (or, in this case, a document), to see my fragmented thoughts and experiences knitted together.
If ever I start writing for any of the above reasons, I’ve lost my purpose. When I lose my purpose, writing loses its joy. So, despite the appeal of high stats and pristine posts, I’m determined to keep my eyes fixed on the joy.
How about you, readers? Do you relate with my distractions?
And, most importantly:Why do you write?