July 6, 2017
Why Do I Blog?
That is a good question. More than seven years after beginning all this, I'm don't have a simple answer. Certainly, it is satisfying to see something I have written on the Internet and pulled up during a Google search. Those small monthly checks from Amazon for selling a few books or getting clicks on the ads that flow down both sidebars is nice. They don't pay for more than some legal pads, printer ink, or downloaded photos. But, there is some validation there.
I guess there are a few parts to the answer of why I keep doing this. First is my need to write. A blog gives me a reason. I know myself well enough to know I don't have the patience or drive to write a novel or even a nonfiction book. A long time friend of mine has written two mystery novels, both of which I bought and enjoy. It has been a joy to watch his writing improve and his lifelong dream become fulfilled. It was hard, stressful work for him. That path is not for me.
Six to seven hundred words a few times a week is not a lot of heavy lifting. It scratches my itch. Finding a topic usually isn't a problem. Since Satisfying Retirement covers so many topics, I have few restrictions on what can be written about. Committing to something fresh every three or four days gives me the structure I need.
Politics is generally avoided. That subject is so overdone today and almost always guaranteed to generate more heat than light. Religion and sex, the two biggies to avoid in polite conversation, are not often the focus of a post either. That leaves quite a few topics I can pick from.
Honestly, another reason is I sincerely enjoy reacting to the comments left on the posts. I know some bloggers don't respond, but that couldn't be me. if someone reads what has been written and then actually take the time to add his or her thoughts, I feel it would be unseemly to not recognize that effort with one of my own.
It is interesting to watch the flow of readers into and then away from the blog. I guess this is rather typical, but almost all of the folks who commented on posts of say, five years ago, have been replaced with a a new set of regular participants. If I am still doing this three or four years from now, I imagine there will be a new crop. I guess regular readers just feel the need for freshness and find new blogs to read. Or maybe there is a change in their daily schedule that makes active participation more difficult.
I sometimes wonder where the people who were here earlier in my journey, have gone. Are they still reading but just not leaving their thoughts? Have they grown tired of retirement as a topic and simply moved on? Since I am a proponent of change, I am not disappointed or upset of this turnover. I am just a little curious.
Blogging is one of the best ways I have found to expand my horizons. I will write a piece that seems to be coherent, on target, and answers the questions that prompted the post in the first place. Then, a reader will leave a comment that adds an entirely new thought or poses a question I hadn't considered. Someone will write something that shows me a direction I hadn't even thought about. Maybe a comment will send responses along a certain tangent that opens up an entirely new path.
Each time this happens I am instantly, and very publicly, reminded that I have a lot to learn. It is clear that my thoughts are not complete. I'm also continuously impressed with the effort that people put into their comments. There is obvious thoughtfulness happening. The comments are meant to enlighten, educate, subtly criticize, be supportive, or allow someone to share a personal experience that relates to the topic.
The final reason I keep blogging is probably a little silly and exposes a problem with my ego: I don't want to disappoint those who make this blog a regular part of their Internet time. To keep doing something as personal as blogging because a little bit of me says folks would be sad if I stopped seems to be a reason that is both embarrassing and based on an an unattractive level of self-deception.
Importantly, this last reason that I still blog is pretty far down the list. But, in all candor, I felt the need to expose it. Like I noted above, blogging is forced learning and maybe a bit of therapy. Until I am all-knowing and completely healed of my delusions there are reasons to keep at it.
That suggests I will be here awhile.