If a Blog Falls

Seth Godin breaks his pattern of deep analysis and asks a simple question: If no one reads your post, does it exist? He goes on.

What do most people get out of blogging? After all, most blogs are virtually unread by outsiders…

The act of writing a blog changes people, especially business people. The first thing it does is change posture. Once you realize that no HAS to read your blog, that you can’t MAKE them read your blog, you approach writing with humility and view readers with gratitude.

I don’t know if this is true for some bloggers. It isn’t for me at least. I realized from the beginning that the likelihood of developing even a small cadre of interested readers was extremely remote. I have friends who constantly question me about blogs and blogging because, well, I have a blog and have been doing it for a few years. They all seem to focus on becoming the next Top 100 Blogger or making money somehow. If that is their motivation, Seth’s comments would seem to ring true.

But I always looked at as three very simple things.

1. Extracting My Brain. By getting stuff out of my head and onto paper, er, a blog, I free up my brain for other things. I don’t feel compelled to recall it because my own blog becomes a journal or record of my thinking on subjects. This allows me the freedom to further develop those thoughts beyond my initial gut reactions. It also gives me an outlet to decompress, to let out a little stress now and then.

2. A Way for People to Know Me. If someone is interested in getting to know me, they would not likely avoid reading some of my blog. I’m pretty transparent and everything is there: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I don’t feel compelled to stand by every word I’ve written. It’s how I felt at the time. Maybe I’ll change. Probably I won’t. If that scares certain people, it says more about them than it does me (I think). I like open and transparent people better than those who are constantly trying to present (protect?) their image in a certain way. I write because the very few who want to know me better will read it and decide to get closer or stay away.

3. Writings for my children. I think that someday my children will read my blog stuff. There will probably be a lot for them to digest. It won’t all be pretty. But it will be real - and how many young adults ever feel they truly know their fathers? This record of my thoughts, my ideas, my opinions, and hopefully my progressive growth, will be a help to them in their own journey I hope. I could write great words of wisdom for them in little books to be read upon my death, but I think the weight of that would be minimal. When life gets really tough, they are going to wish they could get a feel for how I am. It’s hard to imagine that one person can influence a child so much (and scary), but it is a fact of life. Men used to keep journals more frequently. They also wrote letters more frequently. I have ten years of emails for them to pour through if they ever choose to, and my blog is just a more public version of a journal. Granted, some of my most private thoughts are not in my blog, but the blog still does peel back layers of me - whether I intend it to or not.

These are the chief things that motivate me to write. I think about readers sometimes - what they might want to hear. Sometimes I even delete a word and change it to a less-offensive word. But, for the most part, I write for my own selfish reasons above. Those who want to come along for the ride are more than welcome. If anything I write can ever help anyone in any way, I’m thrilled. But if no one reads it, am I likely to alter anything to attract more readers? Absolutely not.

Technorati Tags: blogging - writing

Posted in: Blogging