The Reasons I Write

Back from a weekend camping, I had a lot of catching up to do. Beginning with some four hundred unread tweets yesterday afternoon and approximately fifty RSS items, I have finally made my way to Instapaper where I had Linus Edwards’s ninth installment of his Daily Zen series — The Daily Zen #9 “Exposed & Obscured” — waiting for me. I only found his blog recently, but given the nature of his last post it came as no surprise that I liked this one a great deal. Specifically, his thoughts on why we, as a community, write on the internet and publishing our own personal blogs struck me in particular:

“That’s a question I’ve been contemplating lately. Why do bloggers (myself included) want to spin out these yarns of ideas and expressions to mostly complete strangers? It’s a strange phenomena, although maybe it’s the most human of urges - connecting with others. I think that’s ultimately why I blog, otherwise I’d just write these thoughts in a journal and call it a day. Yet, the chance to have others read what you wrote, learn something new, maybe even have it change their mind or see something in a different light. That’s the intoxication of blogging.”

I have tried journaling in the past, with varying levels of success. Most recently, I set out with good intentions to kick-start this habit using The Art of Manliness’s Jumpstart Your Journaling: A 31-Day Challenge. However, after six days I set my pencil down for good: between a full college course load, a part-time job, and spending my every spare moment working on this site, I just did not have the time nor inclination to sit down and fill out a journal entry each day, no matter how beneficial. I envy those that do, though: for the brief period in which I committed myself to this practice, I enjoyed it greatly.

Back to the topic at hand though, I find it ironic when writers talk about their blogs but say that they do not care for pageviews, and even more so when they characterize their site as a journal. If he — because I have a specific individual in mind — did not care about traffic, why not buy a notebook and store his every article there? Everyone that writes on the internet wants others to see their work, plain and simple. Apparently some do not realize this base desire, but it is nevertheless present on some level in all who inhabit this medium. That desire drives me, and has continued to for the last seven years: I want the greatest number of people possible to read my work and give me feedback, and I make no allusions indicating otherwise. In fact, I love finding out that someone liked my latest post, and nothing makes me happier than to hear another say that it inspired them to create something of their own. Those are incredible feelings. Those are the reasons I write.