Why I write my blog…why do you write yours?

I’ve been doing this for over five years or longer. Every single week, three times per week, for more than five years. Holy shit it’s a long time. It makes me think, why has there been this longevity? What has kept me doing this all of this time? It’s got to do with me just writing about things I find cool and interesting. Either I find them on my explorations of the internet or I mine the vast amount of travels I have done and then write about these places.

I have relatively few followers, compared to other people and that’s because all of the stuff that I write about is so random. If I was writing for the sake of impressing other people or for generating traffic to the site, or for the sake of other people’s enjoyment and not on topics that really interested me, I could stick it out for maybe a few weeks and then the blog would fade out gradually. The passion for the topic has to be there!

This blog is so hard to categorise and has blown out into a full-blown microcosm of quirkiness over the years. It’s therefore hard for others to follow it and even understand or conceptualise it. I know that but I can’t for the life of me cut down this blog or restrict it to one topic, it wouldn’t be being true to myself. This place is a reflection of my own massive imagination and seeking of curious and unusual things in life.

What motivates you to write your blog?

A friend on here is keeping to a streak of a long length of time in which to write a blog. That’s what motivates him. For other’s they are simply hammering out blog posts in order to promote a book or a product of some kind, or to talk about their research.

What keeps you doing this blogging thing and what do you get out of it?

18 thoughts on “Why I write my blog…why do you write yours?

  1. Isn’t being a magpie a complete bitch? It means not being able to give an ‘elevator pitch’ (and of course you’re apparently a complete loser if you can’t) and certainly not able to easily fill in those few words of ‘blog description’ on your home page. I struggle to make some coherent sense out of palaeontology, archaeology, ecology, photography, geopolitics, digital graphics, atmospheric physics, linguistics, ….

    I started the blog as a kind of adjunct to my normal CV. In the unrealistic hope that someone getting a CV wanted some clarification on who I actually was – they could check the blog. Yeah, right. Part of it was to provide some real-world back-up to my academic publications. That worked as short-term experiment. But as a non university-based academic, I have no need to play the hierarchy bullshit.

    The blog posts that ‘feel’ most right, are the ones that tell a good story. There are plenty of stories in my head, but they either come naturally, or they don’t. This is part of the current problem. I haven’t posted in a while, and as well know, you are ‘supposed’ to publish regularly (You manage this!) [takes hat off]. Blogging has made me realise that ‘stories’ are kind of central to my personality. I’ve had a few funny situations lately where people have been damn-near incredulous at the number of ‘experiences’ I’ve ‘suddenly’ found that I can draw on.

    I could keep banging out “where I am today and what the coffee was like” posts, but I have no wish to be a travel blogger (though it could be financially Sensible, I’ve never been that sensible). What I would like to do is to write posts that somehow make a difference. I’d like to think that I was in a good position to combine science, travel experience and wide-ranging interests into something that was actually useful. But my fear is that those would end the ‘stories’. I’m still looking for that right approach. As I joke these days, that’s Plan S, or T, or U, or something…

    Meanwhile, blogging does help my focus. I like chasing up topics and trying to sort them out. If nothing else, it’s good practise for writing some longer things that might actually provide income. But what do I get out of it right now? Really not sure – satisfaction? A wee boost to the ego?! (:

    Brought to you from the little country of San Marino….

    1. Haha I know exactly what you mean Mike about the elevator pitch thing. Imagine the interview question – “So what is your blog about?”…”just stuff, it’s about random stuff”

      But why do we feel the need to explain it at all? Perhaps we don’t need to explain anything to anyone about our blogs? Indulging in your own interests is enough and others will find you and your treasure trove if there is enough cross-over between their stuff and your stuff.

      I agree on the heirarchy bullshit front. It’s the same with ‘professional’ blogs, of which there are bazillions. I have no issue with these blogs or the people who write them but they can end up becoming a bit meh and bland precisely because they are written to appease a certain institution or a workplace – to get the stamp of approval or to win praise or clients or something.

      I tried to do this myself and it sounded like every other blog on marketing in the world – I bored myself with it in the end and had to stop- bleh!

      I contrast that with your blog and it’s told in the first person in a way that really takes you into the time, place and the mood of the place, it’s great travel storytelling and I’m astonished you don’t have way more followers.

      I like that you only post occasionally about stuff that you think is a really good story too.

      Combining science, history, travel experiences and your own personal take on it all is really interesting and this approach has become popular lately. Here are some books like this which I think you might enjoy.

      Underland by Robert McFarlane
      https://www.underlandbook.com/

      Rings of Saturn https://www.bookdepository.com/Rings-Saturn-W-G-Sebald/9780099448921?ref=grid-view&qid=1567853691758&sr=1-1

      A Field Guide to Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit
      https://www.bookdepository.com/Field-Guide-Getting-Lost-Rebecca-Solnit/9781786890511

      All of these cultural, historical and personal elements when woven together can be so powerful! Happy travels in San Marino

  2. It’s a good question. Before starting a daily blog the motivation was ‘it might be a good idea’. Now writing for a year I notice a range of benefits: writing speed improves, thinking deepens, interests broaden, time management improves —amongst other things. It’s just a worthwhile enterprise. Also because I just write whatever has caught my attention on a given day it acts in a very real way, as a diary — and I’ve always wanted a diary! but never managed it until now. As far as the streak goes, that puts a little fuel in the engine but it’s definitely not the engine.
    I think you’re right about the niche blogs having the biggest followings — and it makes sense too—easier to find and understand. But then you’d have to write about the same thing every day right? Sounds like groundhog day to me…

    1. Yeah…I know what you mean. Some people have one thing they are passionate about and they can amass enormous followings because they become the experts in their field. I wish I could be that way but I find just focusing on one thing really boring. It seems to be the same with you, you are always switching it up, which is why I like your blog so much you never know what you will focus on next. I am so glad you get these things out of it, that’s an enormous list you gave. It’s all of these intangible things, the ongoing pleasures of writing for writing’s sake that make it enjoyable. Even better if other people like it, but not essential really. It’s an online diary, a record of your past history for your own enjoyment. I worry sometimes i delve into too many private things on my blog, but I can’t help but sometimes blurt things out. If stuff is bothering you, it can be like a release value which can calm you down and help to centre and focus you.

      1. It can be like that. Also I find writing about anything brings much much more clarity than thinking about it. It’s one of the reasons I don’t mind putting a few thoughts down about the books I read (even though they are my least favourite posts to write)

      2. Yeah definitely, writing is a great way to solidify abstract ideas and make them more concrete. Also the very act of writing there is something very meditative and healing about it like you are purging yourself of thoughts or emotions or something.

      3. All very true. There’s so much input these days from everywhere that encourages us to be passive consumers. Writing actively pushes back a little on that and evens the score!

  3. Great question. The main reasons, keeping track of what I consume, the online community aspect and chatting about my interests. I also like learning and discovering by visiting other blogs. I hadn’t really considered the disipline of it, but yes, a way to organize our life. My blog has also expanded to other interests so I understand your need to do so. Improving my writing skills is a bonus of having a blog for 9 years.

  4. So true, its a way to capture and organise your life. Also if you do it for ages it’s a way to look back on different things that were important to you at a given stage of your life – it’s pretty personal in that way. Nine years is a long time, take a bow veteran blogger 🙂

  5. I think I could have written this line, too – “I have relatively few followers, compared to other people and that’s because all of the stuff that I write about is so random.” But that’s fine.

    I write for myself. Or rather, my future self. All my posts are basically “I’ve just read such-and-such, I thought it was interesting.” There’s so much stuff out there, I can’t remember it all, so having a blog makes me reflect a little more on what I’m coming across and how it might relate to other things I’ve read.

    I think the best part of my blog is the /?random link, as that will often throw up something I wrote about ages ago that I’ve forgotten all about.

    1. That’s such an interesting take on why you blog Terry. To remember all of the stuff you have consumed and enjoyed. It’s like a series of letters for your future self. Yes – I totally get that and I understand why you would do that. I also have had the notion that if I am in a totally euphoric and happy headspace, it might be prudent and sensible at that time to write a blog post and then at a later date when I am feeling sad or down about my life, to read it is to remind myself of how wonderful the world is, and how people are actually really great, not shitheads. Doing that has helped me to get out of a depressive slump before, letters to our future selves…YAY!

      1. Yes, that’s it exactly. It’s so hard to remember different states of mind, sometimes – whichever one we’re in at the moment feels like the ‘right’ one, all others are impossible. Let’s keep going!

  6. Writing is therapeutical. In a silly way I hope that it keeps my mind sharp. I also write about things that interest me. I guess that is why my site is so eclectic but not as eclectic as yours. Happy blogging!

    1. Your blog has taught me so much about history that I didn’t know, especially Byzantium and early Christianity and also all of these amazing musicians I would have otherwise never heard of, thanks so much Robert and I hope you keep going with it forever!

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