Blog what you need to blog

Write what you need to write, not what is currently popular or what you think will sell.

— P. D. James, author

Write what you want to write and not what you think you ought to write or what other people think you should write.

— Joanne Harris, author

(Thanks to Roxical Thinking for introducing me to these quotes.)

The act of blogging, for me, requires constant reaffirmation of why I’m writing.  Mine is a new little blog with a weird little niche in the vast expanse of catchy headlines and bad grammar that is the internet.  This means that some days (like today), I’ll get a measly two page views.  And I’ll be honest, that makes me a little sad.  Humility has never been my strong suit.  Because yes, I’m jealous when I see another new blogger who’s already got 1000 followers and pieces in The Huffington Post.  I start thinking, What makes her so special?  (Answer: She’s willing to publish non-anonymously and Tweet and do all that publicity stuff I’m completely uninterested in undertaking.)

At the same time, however – because the workings of my mind are remarkably paradoxical – each new follower gives me a little jolt of anxiety.  What if they don’t like what I write next?  Are they going to be disappointed that this blog isn’t all wry parenting posts?  Or all academic stuff?  Or all <insert latest post subject here>? 

That’s why the above quotations struck me so forcefully.  It’s good to be reminded that, fundamentally, I should be blogging for me.  I should be writing what I need to write.  I started this blog because I have Things To Say, and I needed an outlet in which to say them.  Writing is cathartic.  If others read my thoughts here, I should consider that a bonus.  If others actually like reading them, that’s a double bonus.

It’s an ongoing struggle to separate myself from external validation.  I know my husband reads my posts shortly after they go up; if he hasn’t mentioned it by the end of the day, it takes great concentration to avoid asking, “Did you see my blog post?  Did you like it?”  (I of course get great happiness when he does enjoy a post – just I as am enormously pleased to welcome new followers and commenters.  I just need to make sure that I’m not relying on their – or his – approval.)

Dear readers (and I know there are at least two of you!), why do you write?  Is it for fame and fortune or personal satisfaction?  Or a little bit of both?


5 thoughts on “Blog what you need to blog

  1. I write because I cannot not write. I blog because I have had some rather difficult times and learned some interesting lessons along the way and I hope to help others to learn the lesson rather than just endure the pain. Plus I get to be ridiculous from time to time.
    And tags make a big difference to the number of views you get.


  2. I can relate to this tremendously. External validation is necessary – because if we are writing for simply ourselves, why not just keep it private? – but it’s also sort of a curse to rely on it for motivation. (Same here about the having a hard time not asking the husband if he’s read it yet…) I’ve learned to not check the page views, though. It takes serious discipline, haha.

    I find that I write for me, in as much as I’m undertaking an experiment to truly write about the good, bad and ugly with this blog… Whereas before, I would only focus on the shiny, new, awesome stuff. I write to make myself uncomfortable, in a way – to branch out and push myself a little bit further, every time. Admitting faults, cracks in the facade of happy homemaker… Talking equally about the good, proud and funny moments as a mom but also the totally unnerving parental moments when things are chaotic…

    Too, I hope that in reading my anecdotes – if anyone happens to – they realize that the whole idea of that perfect Pinterest mom is a total crock of shit… Because I was unaware of that when I had a baby and I would strive so hard to achieve it that I was left completely downtrodden when I failed.


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