Why blog?

Posted on Saturday 12th May 2007 at 00:00
For a long time now, I've had people ask me why it is that I keep a blog, and I never know how to reply. There are so many reasons it seems silly not to have one to give. Recently I've been reading Shaggy Blog Stories and as a result have been exposed to a much wider range of bloggers than I am used to. I think they probably all have their own reasons for spewing out the words that they use, but these are mine.

Firstly, I enjoy writing. A lot. Back in my school days I was considered a very good writer, but what is good for an 11 year old is generally considered pretty poor for an adult. Hopefully I've improved a little since then but I'm under no delusions about my writing ability. Even if I were to be considered above average for a layperson, I'm not even close to the standards of a professional writer, and so I've never made a career out of it.

Like many people, I'd almost definitely attempt to write a novel at some point in my life, and like most of those I'd fail upon realising just how difficult and time consuming it would be to do it properly. That is why blogging is useful to me. Here I am writing every day for half an hour or an hour or something; just a thousand words or so about nothing in particular to keep my brain ticking over and remind me that actually I do know how to speak English reasonably well when I wish to. It helps me exercise the part of me that would like to write a novel, if only it could take control of the rest of my brain, and as with all forms of exercise, by the time I'm through, it is exhausted and ready to stop bugging me.

Writing blogs is pretty helpful for anyone wishing to develop their typing abilities. I'm not a very good typist at all, but playing with the keyboard for a little while each day is definitely the best way to improve. If only I could use more than two fingers at a time... Likewise spelling, grammar and punctuation are much improved if you use them everyday. Before I began this, the majority of writing I did was on MSN, and it really isn't helpful at all if you want to learn proper words rather than a whole series of abbreviations.

A lot of people start blogging for the sense of community it provides. They enjoy reading comments and writing on the blogs of their own readers all the time. Oddly enough, I started blogging for completely the opposite reason. Before Ignorminious? Misty Mind, my soul blogging interest was Ignorminious? Scrap Book, my Live Journal account. Live Journal is far better suited to community blogging than anything in this neck of the cyber woods, and I have a good group of friends there. However, I felt trapped into writing to please an audience of people I knew in real life, and it seemed terribly restricted. The obvious answer seemed to be to take my disused web space and start a new blog afresh for an audience of people I didn't know in real life.

These days of course things have changed a bit and I have a lovely little niche of readers who keep me feeling loved with regular comments. This community is nothing like as solid as my Live Journal equivalent, but at least here I'm read by people who are actually interested in what I have to say, not just people who feel they are obliged to do so because they are my friends.

The last reason is one that I discovered over the last few days in my exams. Like most people writing essays, I've always struggled to get started. After the first paragraph or so I'm usually fine, but that beginning bit is a nightmare to get onto the page. It seems writing here so often has helped me out a little there, as I found myself writing sound introductions to my essays without even having to stop and think, because I'm so used to doing so all the time anyway. In fact my whole essay structure is much improved upon this time last year.

If you are a blogger, what are your reasons for blogging? Do you do it for the same ones as I do, or do you have a motivation I've never even thought of before? Answers in the comments section please :-)

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