Why blog? The main reason and core reason to blog is the same as keeping a journal. It is a way of sharpening my understanding and expression of life experience. By keeping it in a public way, it forces me to try and write coherently because there is the possibility that someone might stumble upon it and read it. This is good thing because writing more coherently will cause me to think more coherently. Well, I can at least hope that it will.
My friend and mentor Don deKieffer wrote seven books. He said to me once that none of them were commercial successes, but that was okay because he wrote so that he could understand a subject better. So I think the answer to why blog may found in this experience as well. Blogging helps me to understand something more than simply tweeting about it or posting it on Facebook, but certainly not as much as writing a book about it.
Originally I hoped that it would provide a sort of therapy for me so that I would talk less and listen more during small group meetings, Bible classes, etc. Unfortunately that has not happened. Perhaps I should take a vow of silence for a period of time. So if your answer to why blog is so that you will talk less, it doesn’t work for me; I still talk too much.
The therapy that blogging does provide very well is that it sharpens my truth filter. I live in an age where ideas enter directly into my subconscious by television, radio, internet, music, etc. Historically, reading and writing forced my conscious mind to sort things as being true or not. For a nearly sane person writing straight or writing satire with intent, I am compelled to write only what I think true, unless of course it is a fictional story pointing to a truth.
So the public forum is good for keeping a journal. It grounds me more, gives me the benefits of journaling, and provides some level of connection albeit a hypothetical one as does any published item. Most of what I write professionally is for a small, specialized, technical audience. By comments, I know at least two people read what I write. I do it because I’m interested in what I write and a check comes in the mail when I send an invoice.
Google Analytics is great because I can tell if someone actually reads what I write; either that, or they left their computer on your page while they got up to get a cup of coffee. Beyond occasional wonder that people in India and New Zealand are reading my posts, I should not devote too much time to analytics. It is a bit like weighing too frequently on a scale when I’m trying to lose weight.
Maybe my blog will attract a modest number of repeat readers eventually, but perhaps giving this any thought at all is a distraction and might lead to lead to a low grade obsession. So, if I don’t want to keep a journal slightly better than the one that will never leave my office, I probably shouldn’t blog.
Don’t Pester People to Read
If your answer to why blog is so your friends will read it, they won’t. One of the first things you learn as a blogger is how few of your friends, physical or digital, actually read. There is also a a form of the experience described by Jesus, ‘a prophet is not without honor except in his own town and in his own home,’ Mat 13:57b A blogger is not equated with a prophet, but you will find that you will have fewer readers than you expect among your family and friends.
Don’t pester them to read your blog. They still won’t, and they’ll begin to avoid you. Take comfort that you will find regular readers in places you may never be able to visit. I do have one daughter who reads my blog, and I have started to use the devotional postings to aid our study of the Bible.
Finally, my answer to why blog? It sharpens my Bible study habits dramatically. Since beginning the study on Matthew, I understand by writing more things Jesus needs to work on in my life. So this reason alone creates adequate motivation.