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Why Do You Blog?

Okay, yet another post (like the first one) inspired by Every Exquisite Thing.  I’ve finished the book by this point, and I mostly liked it.  At the very least, it has given me a lot to think about.  Once again, you don’t have to read the book to think about these posts.

On page 103, the author in the book (by which I mean the author of the book inside the book) emphatically states that they will not discuss his “failed” novel.  The main character responds that it wasn’t a failure, and the author asks why she thinks it “succeeded.”

“It’s my favorite novel. Alex’s, too. And this kid Oliver who Alex—”

“I know all about Oliver. Alex writes about him constantly. But is that the purpose of writing a novel—to be someone’s favorite novelist? Is that why we write or make art? Do you think that’s why I wrote that book? For you? You and Alex and Oliver didn’t even exist when I went mad for literature and sent that collection of desperate words to New York City. I didn’t write it for you. No, I certainly did not.” There was anger in his voice, which was not like Booker.

“For whom did you write it, then?” I asked.

He smiled and said, “You won’t get your answers that easily.”

In general, I agree with Booker, the author. He didn’t write the book for the people who became the fans of the book because those people didn’t even exist when he first wrote it.  Those people may see it as a success, but in Booker’s mind, there is another reason for writing his novel, and he is a failure when it comes to that reason.  He can’t be successful by this fan’s standards; he has to be successful by his own standards, his own reasons for writing.

It made me think about our blogs and how we deem them successful or not.  I don’t write my blog for you.  I mean, I’m glad you’re here, and I hope you keep reading.  I love that part of blogging — talking about stuff that appears on the screen — but even if you weren’t here, I would keep writing.

The reason I see my blog as a success is due to my reason for writing it: to take everything out of my head and make sense of it outside my brain.  To hear other people’s thoughts and see my words in a different way.  If I’m leaving behind things in my brain, I wouldn’t call it a success.  But I’m pretty good at vomiting out words right now, so… sure, chalking this up to a success.  That could always change in the future.

Other people may deem this space a success for other reasons, but I judge the success of Stirrup Queens on whether I’m hitting the mark when it comes to the reason why I write it.

So think about why you blog or write (or blogged or wrote in the past tense if you’ve stopped) and tell me if your work has been a success based on your reasons for blogging or writing.

I wonder if this post will make anyone start writing again who stopped when they realize maybe they were a success in the first place…


1 TasIVFer { 05.09.17 at 7:33 am }

I write for me – to get the thoughts in my head out of my head. To see them and, hopefully, when I have the time to take, to examine and reshape them or at least acknowledge their existence.

Sometimes it’s also about a conversation. I’m considering responding to an email in a blog post at the moment – but I’m unsure.

2 Nicoleandmaggie { 05.09.17 at 7:46 am }

I don’t know.

3 Middle Girl { 05.09.17 at 9:13 am }

I am 50/50 on the success idea. I think it was more in the past, somewhat now, but will be more in thw future.

Something to gnaw on. Thank you.

4 torthuil { 05.09.17 at 9:42 am }

I blog for a similar reason to you: to get the thoughts outside my head. And to hear people’s reactions. Because it’s important to me both to take a risk and to make a connection. It wouldn’t be the same if no one was reading. But I don’t really care how many. I think of my blog like a coffee shop where I hang out. There are a few regulars and we sit and talk for a while. And there are other people who buy coffee and leave, or sit with others and alone, and listen into the conversation but say nothing. Maybe one day they will come to the table. But I don’t really want to talk to an auditorium of people. The other reason I blog is because I like to read blogs, and it feels less voyeuristic if I’m also doing it. When I first started reading I was fascinated by reading all these intense details about people’s lives, but I was also a bit embarrassed and questioned my true motivations. But if I can put my honest thoughts out there I feel better about reading others’. Although I try to retain enough of the sheepishness to remain respectful.

5 Lisa { 05.14.17 at 9:39 am }

I love the coffee shop analogy. I was always a listener, then I needed to empty my brain and when I neededit had my own blog – for me. Now, like Sharon, I’m busy and my brain needs less release and my blog has atrophied accordingly. I’m building other muscles. But I still listen. I send love.

6 Lori Lavender Luz { 05.09.17 at 10:20 am }

Ha. My 10th blogoversary is this week, so I’ve been thinking about this and all the stages I’ve gone through a lot lately.

One of my success markers is the same one you have: making sense of things inside my brain. Another is connecting with people who make me think new things in new ways. So I guess I’m still successful, but less often than when I was going more prolifically.

7 Counting Pink Lines { 05.09.17 at 11:35 am }

As a journal so to speak, to clarify my thoughts as I write. But also to make a connection with others who have been through similar journeys. And as my own tiny way of giving back – if any of what I say helps anyone down the road then I will have paid back in a little way all the similar help I received from others.

8 nonsequiturchica { 05.09.17 at 12:01 pm }

I agree with Counting Pink Lines. Some of my entries are so that I can remember things, so it really is my online journal. I think keeping up with my blog has been nice because it has been great to get in touch with so many other infertile women so that I don’t feel so alone. I’m not sure if my story has been helpful to others, but it would be nice if that was the case….

9 Sharon { 05.09.17 at 4:01 pm }

When I used to blog, I wrote because I had a lot of thoughts and feelings that it helped to get out of my head and onto a page. The fact that anyone would ever read them was secondary. (Though I did enjoy the connections with others going through similar experiences that eventually occurred as I continued to write.)

I don’t write anymore because I no longer have much free time(!) but also because I no longer have that burning desire to empty my brain.

10 Dreaming Of Diapers { 05.09.17 at 6:27 pm }

Honestly, I started my blog out of loneliness and desperation to find answers for my infertility. I needed help and support through my failed attempts at pregnancy and motherhood. I actually did not realize I would be sharing so much…and I had no idea that I would have to go through as much as I did to finally become a Mom. I look back on some of my first posts and I was so naive and innocent. The bitterness had yet to rear it’s ugly head…that showed about 3-4 yrs in…Now, I continue to write because I feel obligated to those who have yet to find my blog. Those who search for “infertility” and “IVF”. I don’t want to leave them and their questions. I don’t want to be a blog that just drops off the face of the web because I’m finally a Mom. I feel an obligation of sorts to keep writing.

11 Jenn P { 05.09.17 at 8:42 pm }

What you said and so I had a place to write the things I felt I had no one I could share them with. As a single mom by choice, I had no one to word vomit with in person about every little fear and thought. I didn’t feel like I could talk to family and as far as I know none have read it. I wrote before I had some sort of audience and community. It kinda rubs me wrong when people start blogs just for monetary gain and I can tell by the way it’s presented.

12 Ashley { 05.10.17 at 4:23 pm }

I write for me. I started blogging because I wanted to join the community. I keep writing because it allows me to see my own growth and it helps keep me sane to dump these things out of my brain. I judge my success by how I feel after I post something – did it help me to write about it? If it did, then it’s a success. I like having others read and offer advise because that was the community I was seeking when I first started. I don’t have many people in my life who will tolerate all my blathering about in regards to infertility and now adoption. Blogging about this has helped me immensely.

13 A. { 05.11.17 at 6:38 pm }

I started writing for reasons similar to the ones you cite: to empty my thoughts onto the page and make sense of them. At that point in the journey to conceive, things had become very confusing, and it was like journaling with input. At some point, it turned into a desire to make something beautiful out of something terrible through the aesthetic of language, and morphed again after my late-term loss into being a voice that gave people strength, even if it was only a small cohort and maybe only sometimes. In all three respects, I think it has been a useful endeavor, and, for the record, I’m glad you’re here, and I consider this blog a success as one of your fans. I get a lot of questions to chew on here.

14 Jessica Jones { 05.14.17 at 2:57 am }

I started writing after my brother was killed, just writing anything to get the mess out of my head and onto the page in front of me. That document is over 70,000 words long and I doubt I’ll ever do anything with it. I realised I loved writing and wanted to do something constructive with it, so I started thinking about an infertility blog. Our first two ivf cycles we did almost in secret, very few people knew, and it was hard. The process is brutal enough but then to lie about it and remember the different lies, it was too much. So my husband and I decided that we would ‘go live’ with our infertility. I wrote all about our failed cycles and what they involved to give our friends and family an idea of what we’d been through. Then I wrote about our third cycle live as we went through it. The support has been incredible and the awareness of the treatment for people which have never known anything about it has made it all worthwhile. I don’t have a following in the actual infertility community, but I do have a lot of friends, family and aquaintences read it, so I feel I’ve brought about a little bit of awareness in a tiny way ?

15 Jess { 05.18.17 at 4:25 pm }

I love the layered definition of success. I write for several reasons, but definitely processing all that has happened in my quest to build a family has been a top one — to try to make sense of things that just…don’t. I also write, like others, to connect to a community, and it’s wonderful to make new friends through this arena and have a sense of companionship with people I’ve never met. The support aspect is tremendous, and when I find that people find what I write to be helpful, or particularly honest, or that I somehow take away that sense of isolation that infertility brings. I also like when people say that I’ve helped them understand something they themselves haven’t experienced. I feel successful when any one of those things happens. And I think of you as wildly successful — you are prolific, you are thought-provoking, you are a builder of worlds. This community is amazing, and I’ve met so many friends (including you!) through you and your blog.

(c) 2006 Melissa S. Ford
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