After typing my last few dozen words for the day, I tweeted out advice that I follow whenever I feel as though I don’t have anything to blog about: Write. Don’t Blog.
Then, out of the blue, someone reacts to my vague tweet and gushes with short phrase describing their own blogging experience. I am not all too sure about what the intent was and will probably never know because I really didn’t want to engage much further beyond acknowledging that I had read their reply to my tweet.
The real intent behind the tweet was to merely share a reminder of what I think blogging really is and should be: It is writing.
Some people first get into blogging thinking that it’ll give them some measure of acclaim and some level of popularity. Some go into it thinking they’ll master the “new media” and make something of their skill. Some people get into blogging for money and they’re not much different from those who put up websites with similar intent. Some blog because they believe that it is actually the best way to raise awareness and build up support for a cause or an idea. Some blog as a matter of personal expression or a personal mission.
These are all valid reasons for blogging, but sometimes these reasons get in the way of consistently writing a blog.
In the first few weeks after starting up a blog, most new bloggers will encounter a number of pitfalls. Those who get into blogging for acclaim or popularity, soon realize that none of their friends actually read their blog. Unless you are a fairly proficient coder, there’s a fairly poor chance of actually “mastering new media” if you don’t actually understand how the “machine side” of it works. Those who get into it for money will pretty soon enough figure out that earning money from blogging requires investing time and money in a project that may take up to a year or two to bear any results. Raising awareness for a cause or idea through a blog actually has a better chance of succeeding if you already have people supporting the cause.
This is, perhaps, why most blogs stop getting updated six months after it’s put up.
Of the number of reasons cited, perhaps only blogging out of a sense of personal mission or personal expression can lead to consistently coming up with posts everyday. Certain things become central to a personal mission or become the topic of personal expression only if they one feels an intense emotional connection with the subject or topic. Writing about something that you feel deeply passionate about happens without much effort and is very much its own reward.
Whenever I think about why I blog, I tend to think about Cyrano de Bergerac and Roxanne.
Cyrano was a gifted poet and swordsman who was deeply in love with Roxanne. However, he feared that any attempt of wooing Roxanne would come to a tragic conclusion on account of his very large nose. At one point, he decides to woo her through words delivered by a better looking friend of his and the ruse works well enough for a time. Well, until, of course, Roxanne initially falls in love with Cyrano’s friend.
In a way, most successful bloggers start out like Cyrano. Some start out relishing the freedom of being able to publish their writings with some degree of anonymity or obscurity. This is when Susan Housewife unleashes her inner pundit or Charlie Collegebum becomes somewhat famous for scholarly critiques on the works of more established authors.
What first begins as a hobby eventually leads to a discovery of one’s self in the subjects that they read about and in the writing that they do. The visits, comments, and back links serve as somewhat of a confirmation that their writing is beginning to matter or already matters in a previously intangible and undiscovered cosmos.
Paul Farol is a Filipino writer and blogger currently based in Manila. He is currently a media practitioner and is involved in community development projects in Northern and Southern Luzon, Philippines.