300 & Counting

I’ve hit a landmark.  Recently, I reached 300 followers.  For many blogs, this number may seem small, tiny, inconsequential.  For me, though, it means the world.

When blogging, it’s always a challenge to straddle the line between creating quality content for the sake of your readers and quality content for sake of pleasing yourself.  I do my best to write posts that readers will enjoy.  I love you guys and want you to stick around.  At the end of the day, though, my ultimate goal is to remain true to myself.

I’m a selfish writer.  I really am.  I do this because it brings me life and I can’t imagine ever stopping.  I know that everyone who follows Keep Your Feet isn’t necessarily a reader.  That’s okay.  Although I try to follow only sites I will actually read, there is a tendency to follow others just for the follow-back.  I get that.

But for those of you who DO read, thank you.  For those of you who have not just hit “Follow”,  but take time to come along side me and spend time with my words, thank you.  By reading, liking, and commenting, you inspire me to keep going.  I’ve got a universe of words within me and there are days when I just want to throw them in a bucket and let them rot.  When this happens, the thought of you is what motivates me cherish my words and lovingly string them into coherent thoughts.  I’ve learned a great deal about myself and my identity as a writer over the past few months, and that would not have been possible without you.  Your words and encouragement mean the world to me.

I don’t know where Keep Your Feet is going.  I don’t know if it’ll stay at is it is or grow or shrink into obscurity.  Frankly, I don’t care.  I’m just thankful to be where I am today.

Why I Write

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?