Blogversation 2012: How and why did you become a blogger?

Throughout this year, several bloggers will engage in a conversation here and on their blogs — asking questions of each other and responding. Learn more about the ladies of Blogversation 2012.

I first started blogging in 2006 with a limited goal: We were going to spend a month subletting a New York City apartment, giving us a chance to test drive being New Yorkers. I wanted to share our experiences with friends without clogging up their email inboxes with numerous photo attachments, allowing those who were interested to read and those who weren’t to skip it.

From that, I launched on Blogger: http://bigapplebound.blogspot.com/

Then about three years ago, I got bored with a me-centric blog. We’d been in New York full time a few years and the theme of what we were doing in NYC had run its course.

Meanwhile, I began to get the itch to explore bigger topics — specifically, wondering how I could make the most of my life to make it richer, more meaningful, happier. I’ve generally aimed for a big goal in the future, something to work toward, and having finished my MBA and gotten a media job in NYC, I’d accomplished my last missions, leaving me asking what was next.

Having this blog encouraged me to keep a lookout for articles and blog posts about happiness and living life well. It gave me a reason to reach out to people who inspire me, to interview them for their experiences and insights. And it was a good opportunity to write several times a week, something I’ve missed since moving out of a newsroom.

I blogged selfishly, looking for greater meaning in my life, but I also blogged about living life intentionally in the hope that my midlife crisis quest could provide inspiration to others.

Just last week I got an email from an old friend that I thought I’d lost touch with. Apparently I didn’t know what had become of her, but she was reading my blog while she went through a major transformation that included a career change and moving back to her hometown.

I cried big tears of joy as I read her email, which said in part:

“Thank you for the inspiration and hope that you gave me. Although you didn’t know it, as I simply read your blog day after day anonymously, you have played a major role in helping me turn my life around. … Hope this finds you well, and I hope that it adequately conveys what your blog and its message has done for me. You are having a genuine impact on people’s lives, Colleen. “

I could never have hoped to do something so beautiful, to inspire someone when they need it most — but I can’t think of a better reason in the world to blog.

How did you become a blogger? Why do you blog?

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11 replies

  1. I actually wrote about this once in my own blog in a dire need to justify my actions, I guess. The following is, in part, what I wrote, how I feel, and what got me started in the first place:

    “I have decided that all these ideas, story lines, and imaginations of the mind must be put out on paper. I am researcher at heart. I love to learn new and exciting things (well, sometimes boring things as well), and have been told on occasion that my sarcastic wit can be entertaining. To that end, I hope that by journaling (hence this blog) my adventure into the world of writing I can help others, obtain help from those far more knowledgeable than I, and provide a bit of enjoyment along the way…

    Lastly, the intent of this blog is not to sound out my ideas of my future novel. I actually, right at this moment, have absolutely no idea what I will end up writing. My interests run from cycling to ballet, science fiction to romance, heavy metal to dance music (although, rarely does country enter into the mix). I plan on testing out various different themes and as I know from past experience, one storyline will surface to the top and it will be nearly impossible to stop the flow of words. However, the rest of the journey is one in which I plan on sharing with the world – or at least those of you who care to read what I write.”

    I was right, too. Once the compulsion to write overcame me I have been unable to stop. The good news I have probably learned more about myself since I started than I have in a long time. Funny how that happens.

  2. Why do I blog? The first question I must ask is “Do I?” I feel as though I’m a “Hiccup” Blogger….I get hit once in a while so powerfully that I just HAVE TO. What stops me from doing it on a semi-regular basis? Technology. I’m not a dumb blond, I’ll have you know, but I have NO PATIENCE most of the time for some of the things that technologically happen to me when I try to blog. Like for instance adding video. What a bee-atch! In fact that’s how I wanted to answer this question. Via video. But I got stopped. And believe me what stopped me would bore you to tears. And that makes me feel like an incompetent boob and once that happens the inspiration drains out of me like a leaky faucet.

    When the inspiration stops -then I’m DOA. Truth is I really like writing. I have a lot of opinions, full of unusual thoughts and questions! No reason for me to not be blogging WAY more.

    Perhaps I’ve needed a comrade or a team of comrades which I now feel I have with this group of ladies! Just being able to “clear” with Colleen tonight helped me get this post up on here!

    Perhaps my working in a silo for the past two years has contributed to part of the problem. Being the social animal that I am and not being part of a true community has hindered me. But I’ve just moved! To Brooklyn no less! And I feel the energy of this amazing community of inspiring me already! So perhaps the answer to how and why I started blogging is: Because I moved to Brooklyn and Colleen asked me to.

  3. I stumbled into blogging by reading Keith Farazzi’s “Never Eat Alone” and meeting his colleague, Sara Grace after a series of somewhat random emails. My blogging experience in 2011 was around running 1,000 miles and connecting with people along the way. I’ve been reluctant to comment, because it means that I will have to admit I failed. I didn’t run 1,000 miles in 2011. I lost focus and didn’t pay attention to my goal.

    I did meet a lot of great people on the trail and spent many hours on the road with good friends who supported my effort. I ran a half marathon and a full marathon. I ran in 5 different countries and over a dozen states. I also met Colleen through Sara and was invited to participate in this conversation with a number of amazing women. I am a few posts behind – but I’m catching up and want to thank you ladies, for starting the conversation.

    Jennifer, I love that you found “your people” through blogging.
    Eleanor, I’m inspired that you’ve used your blog as a tool to help you get out of your comfort zone and reach out to people that you wouldn’t otherwise approach.
    Lauren, I thought about Anne Lamont’s “Bird by Bird” when I read your entry.
    Lesley, As transition surrounds us all the time, I’m excited to follow your blog throughout the year to see what takes shape this year for you!
    Maria, I am often inspired by writers, but don’t often comment. You reminded me to make an extra effort to connect with them to let them know their impact.

  4. My response is over at http://jenniferworick.blogspot.com/2012/01/why-do-i-blog.html

    I wish I had some great story that involved inspiration or an epiphany or some sort of movie moment. The truth is that I started blogging as a business strategy.

    I may have started blogging out of a need to market myself, but I’ve continued to do it for more personal, complicated, varied reasons. I initially called my blog Prairie Tales, to complement my book, The Prairie Girl’s Guide to Life. I wanted to discuss the inspiration behind my books, my struggles of being a farm girl turned city slicker, and whatever blew my skirt up.

    And let’s face it. I wanted to show off. My writing and my wit, to be exact. But something wonderful happened along the way. I may have already had a voice, but blogging honed it. I discovered things about myself. I was able to showcase not only myself, but the amazing things that my friends and family were up to. And best of all, I tapped into a community, created a whole new circle in the Venn diagram of my life. I am educated, entertained, and inspired by a whole passel of like-minded folks. I started another blog, a snarky piece of work called Things I Want to Punch in the Face, for things that chap my hide on a daily basis, and found more of my peeps. I am tickled beyond belief by the comments from my punchy readers, and the immediacy of the feedback is something I could never get from my books or magazine articles. I earn no money from these blogs, but they feed me in other ways.

    I started to blog for my business, but I continue to blog because it feeds my spirit.

  5. For the two weeks that followed my launch of creativetimes.blogspot.com, I had the writer’s version of stage fright; I barely slept or ate and I walked around with heart palpitations. The idea of being that visible scared the bejeezus out of me.

    In the five years prior to starting a blog, I had been sending out an email newsletter to keep in touch with clients, friends, family, and colleagues. I titled and dedicated each issue to a topic that caught my fancy – Creativity, Using Your Hands, Generosity, Getting to Know Your Neighborhood.

    Meanwhile, the list of email newsletter recipients grew and grew until one day my husband (then boyfriend) said to me “You know, there’s this thing called blogging that would be a great vehicle for your writing.” I didn’t know anything about blogging at the time, but I heard that a well-known blogger, Louise Crawford (Only the Blog Knows Brooklyn), lived nearby in Brooklyn. I called her up, she looked at my newsletter, and confirmed that, yes, I had the makings of a blog.

    So I went for it, and my life has not been the same since.

    I’m now in my 7th year of blogging, and there are a few key reasons why I keep on keepin’ on.

    First: Blogging is a huge passport to adventure. I approach people I want to interview for Creative Times who I probably would never go towards without the blog. I got to meet Maira Kalman, one of my favorite illustrators and writers of children’s books. I’ve had the honor of sitting across from international design legend Eva Zeisel, who just passed away at age 105. I interviewed Elmo Muppeteer and Sesame Street Co-Producer Kevin Clash, and then went on to collect the stories of a whole bunch of other Sesame cast and crew. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I’d one day sit in the same Mr. Hooper’s store that I saw year after year as a child who watched Sesame Street on the television. But that’s where I was just a month ago, watching a shoot before interviewing Mr.Snuffleupagus Muppeteer Martin Robinson.

    Second: There are so many amazing artists, as well as art venues, projects, and performances out there in New York. I want to know about them, and I want my readers to know about them. I want us to have more and more reasons to fall in love with and be inspired by the New York arts scene on a daily basis.

    Third: Blogging is a fantastic tool to build community. When I first started blogging, I helped organize monthly gatherings of Brooklyn bloggers, as well as an annual event called The Brooklyn Blogfest. Doing so was a great way to bring people together and forge lots of different relationships between and amongst folks. Although I no longer organize those events, I treasure the people that I met during those days and continue to meet kindred spirits through my work as a blogger. Although it’s relationships, and not technology, that build community, blogging has certainly facilitated opportunities to bring people together and make my life rich with a wealth of friendships and folks to collaborate with on all sorts of projects.

    I am truly grateful to my blog for making life such an exciting adventure!

  6. Loving these, ladies. Keep ‘em coming!

    And today’s question is live, too — do you make New Year’s resolutions?

  7. I blog because I can’t not blog.

    I blog because when I go to bed every night, if I didn’t write something that day my heart sinks, my mind races, and I start penning posts in my head. A fiery voice etches words in my brain.I have to rise, creak upon the laptop, and write.

    You see I love to write, I always have. Fiction, mainly. Stories, always. Stories are what give us meaning, are what bring us together, are what give the abstract advice you read in how-to books meaning. My blogs are always filled with stories because that’s how I write– getting swept away in some other world. My blogs are always filled with stories because that’s how I want you to read — losing yourself in another person’s world so you can live in yours better.

    I began blogging for a job, and I continued because I love the connections I make with people, the impact both of us made on each other.

    But really I blog because I can’t not write. It’s as simple as that :-)

  8. **here’s my 1st Blogversation 2012 post — I’m excited**

    I began my blog at the start of a transition period.

    I was unsure of what changes I need to make, but knew I needed to do something different. I figured that blogging would be a way to hold myself accountable publicly for “making things”. I wanted a more creative life.

    So, “The Creative Cookie” was born on August 28, 2008!!!

    As I continued to write and garner the support of friends my interest started to take shape, a fashion theme emerged. At some point my boyfriend (now husband) stated “you’re a fashion blogger”. It took me awhile to grasp that label, my blog was different from other fashion blogs, but kamau was right!

    Shifting into the Blogosphere has opened many doors. When my job was eliminated in 2010 I had “The Creative Cookie” to turn to — it’s been a lifesaver. Blogging has enabled me to hone in on my interests and craft my future.

    So here I am 3 1/2 years later still blogging about fashion and transiting:). It’s a beautiful relationship!

  9. For nearly 19 years, I produced the equivalent of a blog post a week with my weekly newspaper column. Some of those columns were quite good; some were not.
    “You phoned that one in,” my husband would say once in awahile after reading one of my lesser efforts in the Sunday paper. He was always right, and even though his candor momentarily pissed me off, I’d remind myself that his honesty was among the many reasons why I married him.
    Even though I lost my newspaper job and weekly column space nearly three years ago, I continue to write for public consumption. I posted my first blog post on Open Salon the day after I got laid off because I had a lot to say. The post landed on the front page as an Editor’s Pick and gathered lots of comments. I learned that day that while my newspaper career was done, my public writing days were far from over.
    These days, I write for two reasons.
    I write as a tradesperson. I ghost blog for a successful local business owner; I write websites for small businesses; I write various anonymous pieces for pay. It’s commerce.
    But I also write because I must. While some say writing is their passion, for me it’s more like a compulsion. I can’t not write, and moving from print to digital has been mind-blowingly wonderful. It’s like I’ve been set free from the constraints of my old newspaper columns. I can write as long or short as I like, and about absolutely anything. Sometimes I write about politics. Sometimes I write about my kid. Sometimes I use language that I couldn’t or wouldn’t before, like using the word pissed above.
    I don’t blog as an expert on something because I am expert at nothing, and I’ve got nothing to sell. The older I get and the more I write, the more I understand that I write because I need to connect with others.
    I took my kid to a little diner in my town last week. When I sent him up to the pay the bill – a mission he likes because I let him keep the change as a tip if it’s less than a dollar – a woman approached me.
    “Your son?” she said.
    I nodded.
    “I can’t believe how tall he is,” she said. “How old is he now?”
    I told her that he was turning 13 on his next birthday.
    She shook her head.
    “Time flies,” she said. “I remember when you were pregnant.”
    I had no idea who this woman was or why she would remember my pregnancy. I am sure I looked puzzled.
    The woman laughed.
    “I remember you from the newspaper,” she said. “I’d always read your columns. I didn’t always agree with you, but you were usually interesting.”
    I directed her to the website I started and left that diner feeling good.
    So, I keep writing. Instead of writing columns in a newspaper, I post pieces on various blogs. I write about whatever I want. My personal work doesn’t make money, but creating a post — knowing that I’ve produced something with which a reader can connect — is always enough.
    And managing to sometimes be interesting is the icing on the cake.

Trackbacks

  1. Blogversation 2012: Some highlights so far « Newvine Growing — exploring evolution, revolution and living life intentionally
  2. Blogversation 2012: Wrapping up a year of online conversation « Newvine Growing — exploring evolution, revolution and living life intentionally

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