Why do writers write?
Because it isn’t there.
A poet I have known only through his online writing and poems for many years and only recently as the friend of a friend quit his blog. He had posted links to interesting articles several times a day and occasional essays, but then he wanted the time for other work, such as writing poetry.
A few days ago another poet announced that she is cutting back on her posts at Book of Kells. I appreciate her sharp observations and lemonade aftertaste. Kelli Russell Agodon had been posting most days and now she plans to post only occasionally. Why blog? she asked her readers.
It was my friend Thea who got me started as a path out of depression. At the beginning I thought I would blog occasionally, too. Then I thought I would write once a week. Then every few days. For several weeks last year I posted every day, but that was too difficult to keep up and I wasn’t sure anyone noticed so I mostly stopped blogging for a few weeks, and sure enough, no one did notice.
Mostly I blog because I am not writing fiction. When I am writing poetry every day, as I do during some times of the year, I blog less. Sometimes I blog because it’s the only place I am writing.
I blog to find readers. I blog to find people who see things the way I do. I do not blog to start fights. I blog because I can state my opinion without getting screamed at, though sometimes even here people scream at me in comments. I don’t delete that screaming, though on one occasion I deleted my own screaming in response. Screaming is not why I blog.
I blog because most of my time is spent attending to the needs of students and here is a place where I can attend to my own thoughts.
I blog to make sense of things, to find the odd connection between Aristotle and otters, between affirmative action and violent men, between worry and opportunity.
Here is my place to think on the page, to stir ideas into shape. They are somewhere between journal entries and publication. Because the essays will appear in public, I edit, and most often I must edit them again after they are posted. I never print them out as I would if I were sending them for publication in print media. I have less invested. I do not set them aside for weeks. My blog posts are mostly written in response to an event or to a comment by someone else. Mostly I am talking back to the world, and I accomplish this in a hour or so, usually in the morning before I shower and dress for my day.
Often when I am blogging I should be doing something else—scoring papers, cooking, cleaning, planning for school. I steal time from obligations. Perhaps this is part of the appeal.
Why blog? Kelli Russell Agodon listed nine great reasons for blogging. I have nine too: Because I need to have my say, because hard as it may be to believe I most often hold my tongue face to face, because I help others all day to say what they need and want to say and I need to do that too, because language is wonderful, because every once in a while someone reads my blog and tells me they like it, because I am proud when an anonymous person tells me I’m wrong and it doesn’t much bother me much, because it helps me to think about complicated and beautiful things, because sometimes I get the first draft of something I can take away and work on, and because I can.
I was crushed when poet C. Dale Young stopped blogging. I'm glad others still have reasons to blog sometimes instead of doing something else.