08 September 2013

It's Not That Big a Deal

I've been keeping a blog for a while now, but I'm still trying to figure out this whole blogging thing.

I started it because it was a cool techie thing. I wanted to try it out; mess around with it a bit, you know, just for grins. The mechanics of entering some words on my computer, then uploading them to some mysterious place, where they're magically available to anyone on the Interwebz. Look at that, will ya? OK, that was fun. Now what?

Some years later, when I had to give up my day job, I thought I'd use the blog to document my adventures applying for Social Security disability. Since I anticipated this lengthy drama would generate a potentially overwhelming number of notes, forms, phone conversations, office visits, appeals, and possibly litigation, a write-as-you-go blog would be a good way to keep track of everything that happened. My expectations (some, in retrospect, inaccurate) were formed from reading other people's accounts of this process, so putting my experience online for whoever might stumble across it seemed like a way to pay it forward. Or back. Whatever. Besides, it would give me something to do. Then, three weeks later, it was a done deal. A great relief; also, a bit of an anti-climax. Now what?

Since then, I've been nattering on, off and on, to no particular purpose. Does a blog need to have a purpose? There are blogs that do; people who have something to say, or something to sell. I don't. Unlike the paper journal I used to keep, I know blogs aren't private. This is the Internet, after all. Seriously. Thinking you're anonymous on the 'net is like thinking you're invisible because you've got your eyes shut. Still, most of the visits to this site are from web crawlers, and that's probably just as well. I've made the acquaintance of a few truly fine Blogger Buddies who tolerate my Internet ADHD. Speaking of which, there's a lovely Steller's jay on the fence outside my window. I like reading about what my Blogger Buddies have been up to, and I don't mind if they read what I put up here. If I thought I had a significant number of real Readers, well, I just don't think I could stand the pressure.

So why is it, I wonder, that I feel like I should always have something to blog about? A blog post should have a topic. It should be like an essay, with a beginning, a middle, and an end. Well thought out. There should be some point to it. Looking back over random previous posts I see these elements may not always be discernible – in fact, they may not always exist – but I always feel like they should.

Can't I just scribble down some random observations about the weather, or about the annoying guy who lives next door, and call it good? That's what I did in my old paper journal. I wrote every day. Sometimes it was two lines, sometimes two pages. Whatever. Why does it have to be such a big deal?

Maybe it's a blog thing. I'm still trying to figure it out.


  1. I was afraid, judging by how this post started, that you were announcing an end to your blogging. Much relieved to find that was not the case. Where else am I going to find musings without sales our other motive? On Japan, coffee, dogs, and such. No, please don't stop.

  2. I often feel I have nothing to blog about, and have put my blog on "pause" several times. I've come to believe that it's not so important to have a terrific insightful posts. I think the purpose of blogs, for me anyway, is to keep in touch with the many online friends I have made.

  3. I think you put too much pressure on yourself. I love reading whatever you write. On my own blog, I just write what strikes me at that particular time. I like the discipline of having a set time when I write, and it gives me a sense of accomplishment. Now that I can no longer work, I need something to do that feels as if I'm doing a worthwhile job. If something else comes up, I also don't feel pressured to write that day. I say, it's your blog, so you can do whatever you want -- reminisce, talk about Scarecrow and the warehouse, write about the doggies, tell us about Tuffy in Japan. I enjoy reading it all!

  4. I've been reading some of my grandfather's WWII letters. He was in the Merchant Marines for five years sailing to ports all over the world as they gathered supplies for the military. He could write four pages about how he had not much to say as they hadn't been into a port for 3 weeks, and they hadn't seen anyone else, etc. However, he was truly gifted in being able to write about his ponderings and his concern about having nothing to say all the while keeping his reader engaged. You have that same gift in my opinion. You musings and ponderings are framed in an interesting manner.

    I do get the concern about whether a blog should have a purpose. I've thought of resurrecting my blog but not sure of the thematic focus. Possibly due to you being a professional tech writer, you are trained to always think about the reader (user) and where you are taking them and whether it makes sense. Just guessing that this might contribute to the questioning purpose and whether it's less focused than you feel it should be.

  5. This post really hit home with me. I started to stop annoying my partner with my jabbering about stuff, after I had retired on SSDI. Then the blog had a life of its own, MS theme, never my intention, then health theme, never my intention, then "I'll use it to tone my writing muscle," then it became a job. UGH. I met blog buddies, had readers, must post for them, right? Became a duty. Never my intention, so I went back to just fun, readers private emailed me---I was 'helping them'---guilt, must keep blogging. Now? I jot down a few things, research just enough not to look too foolish, grammar, proper English, REALLY? I am TRYING to produce an actual book, a couple in fact, my editor brain is exhausted by day's end. I'll post if I feel up to it. I hate most of my blog nowadays. After I'm through with other writing pursuits, I'd feel like giving it my full attention...then there is the blog READING one must do. like, after this long comment, I'll be used up for some time. It is a real conundrum.

  6. Blogging is a time killer for me. I spend a lot of time reading down my blogroll - those who have posted - and many times I will comment (because it's nice to get comments, so I try to give them in equal measure - especially if the blog "spoke" to me in some way).

    When I see a post from someone who hasn't posted in a while, I'll think, "Oh goodie!" - they are still blogging! Then there is the whole Blogging Without Obligation thing that I firmly believe in, even though I did feel some guilt for having taken the Summer off. I guess I feel that as long as I am commenting, I am blogging. :-)

    A Stellars Jay - lucky you - they are so lovely. I blog from a cave, nuch to my chagrin.