“Why do you blog?” “Why did you start blogging?” Those are questions frequently asked; they cropped up a good few times at the Bloggers Bash recently and are often asked in interviews. For me the answers are simple… I started blogging to see if I could.
The first time I was asked in a job interview if I was computer literate, I lied. Well, grossly exaggerated anyway… Being of a generation that grew up without the benefit of the microchip, computing came a little late to me. I was almost forty before I became acquainted with anything more sophisticated than the Commodore C64… and that we had only used for games when the boys were small, hoping that they would be able to embrace the inevitable technological revolution.
For the next few years the home computer had been little more than a glorified word processor. I wasn’t allowed the internet…my late partner had quite correctly divined that it wasn’t going to be safe to let me loose on a world full of books and knowledge. So getting a job where the internet was essential to the transport systems I was running, I had to learn fast. I’d never even sent an email… How hard could it be? At work, of course, you didn’t get to play with anything other than the company software… unless you were working late and had the office to yourself… and then I explored.
The internet was installed at home as soon as I could manage it. I learned as I went and found myself at home. A little common sense showed that most systems were logically laid out and it didn’t take much to work through them. Forums for particular interests, social media… it wasn’t long before I encountered the concept of blogging. It held little interest for me back then. I wasn’t exactly a writer… even that was pretty much an accident, with Gary Vasey asking me to collaborate on his book, The Mystical Hexagram.
I’d been writing a novel… a tale of Merlin, set in Yorkshire. I thought about publishing but had no confidence, till a publisher read the half-finished tale . He was complimentary, comparing the style to that of a writer I respect… and would have published had I agreed to make it a little more commercial. Self publishing seemed a better option, but I had no idea how. Blogs gave me the clues I needed and I published a little book of poems, just to see if I could.
Almost by accident I had been engaged to paint some high profile murals. Entirely by chance I was approached by a magazine with a request to publish a piece they had seen online. On impulse I had entered an international poetry competition, the first entry I had ever made. And sat down in shock with the winning cheque in my hand. My confidence grew. I was getting commissions too… Then my son was stabbed and everything stopped.
It was two years later, in April 2011 that I set up the first blog. Very basic. I posted twice, just to see if I could work out the system, then let it lie. I had a whole six views! In May 2012, I needed to raise some support for my son. I remembered the blog. Take two… I began to tell some of his story. At around the same time Steve seconded me as a director of the Silent Eye, the new spiritual school he was setting up. I began to document that journey too. Almost a year after recommencing the blog, Stuart and I accidentally fell into the series of adventures that led to the publication of The Initiate… and that led to several other books together… an ongoing story.
I was making friends and having fun. The fun hasn’t stopped. Eventually, even the dog got involved. After the first year of the second attempt at blogging, the six views had become six thousand… I was astonished! And then it proceeded to grow…
Yet, if I had to give any advice to new bloggers, I would tell them to leave the stats alone.
Had I paid any attention at all that first year, I may never have written again; convinced no-one was interested in a word I had to write I would have simply wasted away in my garret. The first thing I would say though, is ‘Why did you start blogging?’ because that makes all the difference. If it is for a purely commercial goal then figures are important and you have a specific target in mind. If, on the other hand, you are writing because you want to, because you have something to say, something to share… or simply for fun… then the stats really don’t matter. But people do.
Stats are not an accurate reflection at the best of times. Do ‘page views’ register from the Reader? Are they counted if the whole article shows on a reblog…or if it is read by an email subscriber in their inbox? Is it one view if a reader can read ten articles on a scrolling page? I don’t know. What I do know is that every ‘page view’ is a person, every comment, every response is a moment shared with another human being.
For me it is people who are the best thing about blogging. The friendships that can grow, the differing viewpoints you encounter, the humour and the stories… lives that touch yours, even through such an ephemeral medium as the internet. The virtual hugs that become real when you have chance to meet, the support that can change a life, as it has done for my son over the past two weeks. That’s why I blog.
Both Ritu, from But I Smile Anyway and Jo from Ramblings from the Darkness nominated me for the Blogger Recognition award and provided the inspiration for this post… and though technically, I went Award Free a while back, I still take part when I can as it is a great way to highlight other blogs… please follow the links to their blogs!
Guidelines for those who choose to join in:
Select 15 other blogs you want to give the award to.
Write a post to show off your award! Give a brief story of how your blog got started, and give a piece or two of advice to new bloggers.
Thank whoever nominated you, and provide a link to their blog.
List who you’ve nominated in the post.
Make sure to also attach the award itself! (You can do this by right-clicking, saving, and uploading the image above).
Let them know you’ve nominated them.
Provide a link to the award post you created. (I did a pingback)
Provide a link to the original post on Edge Of Night.
Nominees are under no obligation to accept and join in… some I know will be award free blogs. Just take it as a thank you for being part of the blogging community I know and love.