One of the old timers asked why I don’t update my blog seven days a week anymore and told me they wondered who I was blogging for.
“Nobody comments on blogs anymore and if you are not getting any comments who are you blogging for?”
I didn’t have to think about my answer because I knew the gut response is always the same but I decided to take a moment to try and dig deeper to see if there was more than the I write first for me and then for you.
So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try to dig around in the archives to see how many times I have addressed the question and to try to figure out how much has changed.
I stumbled onto The Sloppy Kisser and knew it had to be included because it is a story and it wasn’t me airing out my thoughts about this and that.
Flipped and clicked my way over toÂ What I See- Part One andÂ What I See Five Years Later and realized I have to write part 3.
Because that will provide a quick snapshot of life in 2005, 2010 and 2015.
When I read the first two parts I smile because I remember the man I was for both of them and recognize I am not quite him anymore.
Too much has happened, too many major changes have led to an evolution that would have taken place anyway but is probably more significant than it might have otherwise been.
This time in life is all about who I am on the way to becoming and not who I once was.
Life Changes Are A Writer’s Best Friend
If you want to tell a good story that is entertaining, educational and informative then you are going to want to get up close and comfortable with life changes.
They don’t have to be good changes any more than they have to be painful ones because both are useful.
Real life experiences do more than provide credibility, they help you paint a better picture for the readers.
When my son tells me he is nervous about entering school or when my daughter gives me a list of places she is willing to move to and those she isn’t I can smile and say I understand.
I know all about children and changes and can write about it from multiple perspectives.
Ask me to talk about what it is like to lose your job and fight to keep things afloat and I can tell you about it at length.
I bought a home and felt like I owned a castle and then when things went to hell knew the time had come to sell it because if I didn’t I wouldn’t get a dime out of it and all I had worked so hard for would be taken.
Those experiences are weighed against the joy and laughter of life, measured in small increments called moments in time.
Most possessions have become of limited interest to me, except for the few have morphed from ordinary into extraordinary.
Blogging at times is a funny. unpredictable and unreliable beast.
The posts you are most proud of because they are finely crafted examples of your finest writing are often ignored, passed over and overlooked.
Replaced by silly tales about how to hard boil eggs or stories about how you tore your pants and spilled coffee on our shirt.
Laughed at by stories of the time you tried to change a diaper and were peed on by a baby whose bladder couldn’t possibly hold that much liquid but somehow did.
My stories about supermarket mayhem, fist fights with Santa Claus and drunk and horny clowns always out performÂ the posts that I think display the best examples of my writing abilities.
It used to bother me because I was worried that I was developing a brand that was too narrow in its focus but once I took a hard look at it things changed.
Because I am a writer and a good writer is required to make people feel something.
Those posts did their jobs and they helped provide opportunity and reason to continue.
They also helped build a foundation for writing other posts that are not necessarily based upon stories that have the traditional beginning, middle and end but are more…abstract in nature.
If I had any particular criticism of the abstract it is that they are less likely to inspire comments than some of the others.
Why You Have To Keep Writing
The reason why you have to keep writing and the reason I keep going is because I can’t imagine not doing it.
But it is also because of the unpredictability of it all. I never know for certain what people will love, like or hate so I keep swinging.
I like swinging for the fences but I never forget that sometimes a post thatÂ failsÂ may still contain some gold within.
You never know when you might coin a phrase or parse together a few sentences that are both magical and magnificent.
That alone is worth it to me.
What about you?
Grace April 20, 2015 at 2:23 pm
Who am I blogging for? Well, I keep reading that, as writers, we should keep our readers’ interests top of mind. Since I’m new to blogging, however, I have yet to figure out who my audience is and what I should focus my posts on (most just document what I eat). Although I did notice recently that my creative non-fiction posts are my more popular ones, especially one I wrote on procrastination. So I think readers respond to vulnerability in a writer — which I like and don’t like. I agree that writers are required to make people feel something, but I feel that in order for me to accomplish that, I’ll have to make myself vulnerable, and I’m not a fan of that. Not yet. But I hope to be.
Thank you for this post. You’ve inspired ideas for what I could write about in future posts.
Jack April 21, 2015 at 8:12 am
It takes time to find your voice and figure out some of these things so I think it is reasonable to experiment and play a bit. I agree that readers respond to vulnerability in writers. It is not always easy to open up to strangers but people do relate to it and I think it helps to build connection and community.
Thank you again for the comment, hope to see you here again.
The Imp April 17, 2015 at 7:06 am
Every now and then, I write something that I’m like…”This is gooooood.” and it dies in obscurity. But, write something about the Toddler Terrorists licking the dog, and ppl flock to it.
I don’t get it, but I’ll take the good w/the bad, and see where the journey takes me.
Jack April 17, 2015 at 9:30 pm
There is a lot of joy in the journey, no snark or sarcasm there. I mean it.
Ruth April 16, 2015 at 5:28 pm
Great blog and please keep up the good work. I read many blogs but often don’t comment. That is really not fair of me and I need to leave more feedback. We readers forget that bloggers and other artists put their work out to the world which is both daring and time consuming and so if we enjoyed the blog and it has held our attention (we all have a bit of ADD these days) then we should take the time to offer feedback. A big thumbs up!!
Jack April 17, 2015 at 7:56 pm
Thank you Ruth. I am not as good about commenting on blogs as I used to be so I take your words to heart because they are important.
I used to be very good about checking in because I wanted people to know they were heard so this is a good reminder to do so because you rightly point out we do like to be acknowledged, myself included.
Hope to see you again soon.
Andrea B. April 16, 2015 at 5:05 am
The post that fails. Such an interesting choice of words. I know the intent behind them, and they resonate – it resonates – with me. I write for me, too. Even when I’m writing with an intention and a goal, it’s often for me. I do love the readers and when my words strike gold, so-to-speak, but I also stick with writing for myself, and that’s why when I write it’s always whatever I have to give.
If that makes sense then we’re on the same wavelength. Cause I’m tired and haven’t had any coffee yet this morning. 😉 Great post, my friend.
Jack April 17, 2015 at 7:53 pm
“when I write itâ€™s always whatever I have to give.”
Bingo–that is exactly how I think of it. Nicely phrased, I like that.
Jens-Petter Berget April 16, 2015 at 3:49 am
I believe itâ€™s important to keep writing (no matter what). I havenâ€™t thought much about if Iâ€™m mostly writing for myself to become a better writer and a better storyteller, but thatâ€™s at least some of the motivation. And, I have discovered that some of my Â«worstÂ» posts are getting the most traffic. Itâ€™s hard to know how people will find you and what they really enjoy before you try.
Jack April 17, 2015 at 10:14 am
It is endlessly fascinating to me what hits and what doesn’t here. You never quite know what posts will skyrocket and what will flame out. I guess the most important thing is to make sure you are having fun.
Lori Gosselin April 16, 2015 at 3:40 am
I’m constantly amazed and bemused by the turn the Blogosphere has taken. Just four years ago my blog was such a huge and important part of my day/week/month. When I look back at how much time and energy I put into it I have to ask the same question; why? At first it was to promote my book, later it was for the pure fun of it and after that I was trying to keep alive something that was fading away. I still needed to write but the writing minus the interaction wasn’t as much fun for me. It was like going to a party and having fun even though no one else was there. Not as much fun as going to one where your friends were. I should use the metaphor of the porch. Today I may sit on my porch alone and see others across the way on their porches, alone too, but few porch-hop anymore. I don’t know; I think that was a bit part of the point! I count it as crazy luck that I happened upon the Blogosphere just as it was rising and enjoyed it at its peak before the fall, or was that just my experience? What about the ones who are beginning to blog today? What will their experiences be?
I like the re-cap every five years. I tend to do a “Where Am I?” page at the start of every new journal. Looking at life in five-year leaps though! That’s perspective-taking!
In terms of community building it seems we began in Pesudocommunity, moved into Chaos and are now in Emptiness. You know what comes next 😉 I wonder how that will play out.
Jack April 17, 2015 at 10:13 am
I like five year increments because to me they seem to be the perfect size for seeing recent events and changes as well as trying to make projections for the future.
Perspective is a funny thing because of how our experiences affect it. What you see as the rise of the blogosphere felt more like the fall to me but that is because of how it evolved between when I started and when you entered.
I tend to look at all of this now as just part of an evolution we are all going through.
Larry April 15, 2015 at 5:22 pm
So, are you blogging for you? Man, you are selfish. Maybe, that’s part of the secret. Otherwise, you’ll go crazy over things you can’t control.
Jack April 15, 2015 at 10:52 pm
The goal is to become a better writer/storyteller as well as to chronicle moments in time for my family, so yeah I am selfish that way. 🙂
But it is a significant part of what makes it interesting and that has kept me going for 11 years now.
Julie April 15, 2015 at 4:15 pm
There is something to be said about laughing with a man who you realize you can also cry with.
Jack April 15, 2015 at 10:54 pm
I should think so.
Janine Huldie April 15, 2015 at 3:44 pm
Absolutely summed up perfectly and why I keep writing, because you just never know what will resonate with others who read it and truly half the fun of it in my book! 😉
Jack April 15, 2015 at 10:53 pm
It is fun to see what hits and what doesn’t. It is interesting to me to tryand figure out what nonsense will work this week. 🙂