Sometimes people ask ‘Why do you blog?’. That is a good question and I’ve been thinking about it. To begin with, most simply I blog because someone suggested the idea! It made a lot of sense to me as I have written ideas and thoughts in notebooks for many years but done nothing else with them. I like writing, as I find it a way to slow down my thoughts and give shape to them – ideas which whizz around my head at great speed, often to take off never to be seen again! Ideas can be elusive and half-formed and I find that writing gives them form. Do I write a blog because I want to influence others or teach them stuff? No. I am not a life teacher, I’m just a person journeying through life, thinking about things and jotting them down. Do I write a blog because I haven’t had any work published? No, I don’t think so. I really like that blogging is available to everyone, absolutely for everyone. It is for everyone and for free – an incredible service by WordPress and others, and one of the real bonuses of the internet.
Then I came across a phrase in a book that I started reading yesterday* that seemed to clarify things for me a lot. It differentiated between things that were instrumental and things that were expressive. When we view something as having instrumental value, say if I wrote blogs so that I could be world famous, that activity – blogging – becomes just a means to an end, and whatever that end is is the most important thing. So if I wanted to be world famous, then I might write blog posts in pursuit of that goal of being world famous. Blogging would be merely an instrument or a tool to that other more important goal. If I was caught up in this way of thinking then I would become obsessed with checking the stats of how many people have read my post etc, and feel compelled always to write more so that more people would read my work, and be disheartened or feel a failure if the numbers were small.
But, if I view my blogging as expressive, that through writing I express myself and in that expression I move toward being ever more fully alive and more fully authentic, and pouring that self-knowledge (hard won) back into the universe, then the writing is part of a process that lives through me and I live through it. And that says it very well: I write in order to express myself! Success or failure don’t come in to it, as living and journeying and sometimes writing, are the most important things. And I think every single one of us has a special part to play in the world which brings wholeness to the world when we search for our authentic self – and it’s not far from us at all – whether that is inventing, cooking, writing, caring, running, gardening, taking photographs or anything which makes us feel more alive becomes it comes from the centre of our being. So keep blogging if that’s what you do, and gardening and running, if that’s what you do 🙂
*The Active Life: A Spirituality of Work, Creativity, and Caring by Parker J Palmer