Friday, August 30, 2013

Can You Ever Really Blog for Yourself?

Blogging's a funny thing---on the one hand, you (my reader) know more about my day-to-day life than almost anybody else (with the exception of my husband), but on the other hand, there are some glaring holes that I purposely leave out of the blog.

One of those "holes" has been about blogging itself---most blogs that I follow have regular posts on the act of blogging and what it means for them, but I've very rarely done any such thing. Perhaps I've left it out because I didn't want to admit how much time I actually spend every day on this particular hobby, or maybe it's because to me, blogging about blogging just didn't seem true to the character of my writing.

It's like what I always say about books---if I'm thinking about what's going through the author's head while reading a novel, there's a problem.

All that aside, I've been thinking a lot lately about why I blog--I've been thinking about the reasons I started to really blog regularly and the reasons I still continue to post 4-5 times a week. I've been thinking about the motivation that's coming somewhere from deep within that keeps me coming back to the blank page night after night and that spurs me on to be ever on the lookout for new post ideas, eager to put more of my words out there for all of you.

I'm not sure of the complete answers to all those questions---many of them seem to be at a subconscious level, but one thing is for sure:

Even though I think it's impossible to truly blog just for yourself (I mean, that's what journals are for, not blogs), I still think it's always been super important to me to blog in the way that comes most authentically to me.

I made a comment to Matt the other night that went something like this:

"You know, it's weird---I almost always know exactly what posts are going to get the most traffic and comments, and I know what kinds of posts I could regularly do to get the most traffic and comments, but I almost always choose not to do them. Not because they're bad ideas or because more traffic wouldn't be nice, but because when it comes right down to it, a lot of those ideas aren't really 'me.' Sure, I know if I did more posts on hot topics like the current happenings of the popular media or the latest issue in the political world, I'd probably get a lot more hits. But in the end, that's not who I am. So even though I'll probably never be a 'big' blogger because of it, I have to stick with what's really 'me.'"

Matt nodded and agreed with my motivations, always willing to listen to my constant droning about this here little blog.

That's not to say that I think that blogs who do write about those types of subjects are sellouts--for them, those kinds of posts are probably true to who they are. Besides, other bloggers do those kinds of subjects so much better than I could, so I figure I'll just let them have that thunder.

As for me and my corner of the blogging world, I'm content to stay exactly how I am. Sure, I might be more serious than a lot of bloggers. I might be a bit more focused on abstract ideas and deep introspection. But in the end, that's who I am.

And you know one main reason why I keep coming back again and again to blogging fresh posts almost every weekday?

Because of all of you---you who accept this blog for what it is, and who don't criticize me for what it's not.

You who have followed along despite the fact that maybe I do things a little differently.

So in the end, even though I'm not blogging entirely for myself, I'm still being true to myself.

Does that make sense?

Are you a blogger? Have you ever asked yourself if your blog is an authentic representation of yourself? Or am I the only one that thinks this deeply about blogging?


  1. Torrie! I found your blog through Bloglovin (via Rachel of Tossing the Script) and I'm so glad. First, Autodidactic Ambitions is a name that resonates hugely with me...I love teaching myself new skills and blogging has been a significant example of following that desire. Second, I think you're right that it's basically impossible to blog only for yourself. I'm sure there are people who never think about looking at pageviews and who do just write--often for family, friends, etc--but we always choose what to leave in and what to leave out based on the way we want to tell our story. My hope with blogging is to impart a lot of my personality into my blog without sharing too many of the nitty-gritty details of life. I think Sarah von Bargen (Yes and Yes) does this very well; each post is steeped in her unique voice, but she almost never talks about happenings in her life.

    Novel-length comment here...anyway I'm excited to read more of your blog!

    Alicia | Jaybird: Home in Motion

  2. That's so crazy! I was thinking the same things and going to write about it. Mind reader!

  3. I think about this often, having just started a new blog.

    I think about my job, and being involved in academia, but blogging about the simple things in life--what I wear, how I do my nails, how I do my make up, silly things I find on Internet, random (usually vapid) thoughts I have, et cetera. And I'm afraid that I'd be discovered by a colleague or a student and be looked down on because of my blog. But my blog represents me at a personal level. It is about the things that mean something to me aside of the things I do professionally, as insignificant and shallow as they may seem, because when I take my linguist shoes off, I like make up, and clothes, and nail polishes, and I'm a mom, and a wife, and I like killing time looking through memes on Internet. So what? It is who I am. And my small number of readers is growing because they like to come back to that little niche where I have positioned myself in this blogging world. It's okay.

    As long as there is consistency, there will be an audience. We're people, not islands. We're not isolated. Whatever it is that we blog about, if we do it consistently, will find its way to an audience of kindred souls who like to read what we have to say and how we say it. :)

    So, yes, I do feel kind of self conscious about what I blog about, but it is "me." I am being true to myself. And I like that outlet. And in the process, other people are liking it too. :)

    Ana Paula
    {Visit me at Mommyhood, PhD}

  4. If I wanted to get hundreds of hits a day, I'd just need to complain about dating in every post. I get where you're coming from.

    I look at my blog as a character I play. Admittedly, it is a caricature of myself, but it's still not 100% "me."

  5. I've never claimed to "blog for me" because just like you, I don't think a blog would be the right medium for that. But it is very important to me to be really and truly me when I blog. I can tell when I start to write a blog post if it's not real--it's very, very hard to write. So sometimes, even if I think a post would get good pageviews, or even if I'm very knowledgeable on the subject--I just don't blog about it, because it doesn't feel right.

  6. Love this post. I think everyone does their own thing with blogging, and I appreciate that. That's why I can't stand those "this is how to blog properly" posts - one person can't measure everyone else's success or victories based on their own, or determine how one "should" blog based on what they like or don't like. It seems like everyone does it their own way. Part of it is for me, but in the sense that it gives me a way to be creative, think outside the box, and get a chance to write. Of course I want people to read it, so I there are times I cater it to them. There are times I write what I feel like writing about, even though I don't know that anyone wants to read it. And of course I don't want to put everything that's going on with me, because that would be way TMI. But to each their own ; )

  7. I enjoyed this post! You hit on a question we have to ask ourselves at various points in our blogging journey... motives change as time goes on and we're always learning so it's important to keep coming back and checking that we're giving of our truest self. I just shared thoughts on this recently! I feel there's plenty of room here for each one of us to just be ourselves. Nothing more, nothing less!! Great post!

  8. I think about this a lot, especially as a newer blogger (4 months). I'm learning which posts are more "me" and which aren't, and I am definitely the type of blogger that prefers to write the posts that are very "me." I think most of my posts so far have been reflective of who I am and what I stand for, and that is something I can be proud of.

  9. Posts like this always get a lot of comments, eh? :) I totally agree with you, I a lot of times steer clear of those types of posts, or posts that are just weekly fluff to get a post up.

  10. I totally agree. I "think" I also could do more posts that would drive more traffic and comments but I'd rather blog about the things I want to blog about. I don't want to do link ups or giveaways or guest posts but I know that all of those things would help my blog. I like my blog the way it is, and in reality isn't that really what it's all about?

    (I say "think" loosely, because I'm a bit fearful that I would try these things and my blog would still stay tiny. I'm a bit of a fear actually)


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