I recently started editing some of the super old posts on my blog — posts from seven years ago, back when I had no idea there were these things called “blogging rules.”
One of the so-called “blogging rules” is “Don’t write a 3,000-word post with exactly 3 grainy photos in it.”
Not surprisingly, all my posts were 3,000 words long with exactly 3 grainy photos in them.
It is a special kind of torture to read the endless ramblings of your younger self — ramblings you once thought were quite coherent and clever. Or at least fit for the Internet.
But it’s also made me oddly proud of myself.
The truth is that I’ve been blogging longer than I’ve been doing anything else.
I haven’t lived in the same place for seven years or had the same job for seven years. Heck, I haven’t even worn the same size pants for that long.
I’m definitely not the most consistent blogger out there. And I’m certainly not the most popular. (Unless, “someone besides my mom actually reads this thing” counts as popular.)
But I’ve kept at it when I’ve seen countless other bloggers quit.
Now, I’m sure some of you are assuming the reason why I’ve been blogging for so long is because my blog helps me fund my lavish lifestyle of unlimited donuts and solo camping trips.
This is simply not the case. My few attempts at making money off this blog have failed miserably. Probably because I didn’t try all that hard. Because, well, LAZY.
I’ve occasionally accepted free stuff, like books and travel gear, in exchange for reviews. But I’ve stopped even doing that because I don’t like feeling like I have to write something. Because, well, LAZY.
I have no problem with bloggers who make money or get free stuff from their blogs. After all, this blogging thing takes time and effort and can cause you to really piss off your mom when you continually post photos of her in a chicken costume.
It totally makes sense that people would want to be compensated for that.
But, my reasons for blogging have nothing to do copious amounts of cash or free trips to Aruba. (Although, seriously, I will take either! Just don’t expect me to write about either, because, well, LAZY.)
Instead my reasons go something like this:
Reason #1: It will give you an excuse to do things you usually wouldn’t feel comfortable doing.
There is a reason why my blog is named what it is. I am not brave. I am also not particularly athletic or even all that coordinated. Plus, I suffer from a certain level of self-diagnosed social anxiety. (Regularly hating being surrounded by other humans counts as social anxiety, right?)
There really is nothing I love more than sitting at home by myself all day in my pajamas, binge-watching Netflix with my cat.
But there are only so many blog posts you can write about sitting at home in your pajamas binge-watching Netflix with my cat. Trust me. I’ve written pretty much ALL THE POSTS I can write about that.
So, instead I end up doing a whole bunch of things that make me nervous/scared/uncomfortable just so that I have something to write about besides my pajamas.
I’ve weeded python-infested rice paddies and lived on a Malaysian sailboat. I ran a marathon in Japan and a 10K on top of The Great Wall. I’ve camped by myself and even went to a male strip show by myself. And I’ve thrown myself down an icy luge track at thirty miles per hour.
I don’t think I would have done any of these things if I didn’t have that little voice in my head telling me, “Gosh, that sounds horrible! But just think, you could write a blog post about it!”
Reason #2: It will also give you an excuse to get out of other things you don’t feel like doing.
Blogging regularly takes time out of your schedule. Even if your idea of “regularly” is two to three times a month. Which is exactly my definition of “regularly.”
This is time you could be doing other things that people want you to do, like, say, helping them paint their attic walls or going to their child’s birthday party dressed in a Clifford costume. (That was an actual request from a friend. Or, ahem, former friend.)
Luckily, you can always tell your friends that you’d really LOVE to help them out, but you’re simply too busy working on a big blogging project.
The added perk of this excuse is that nobody will ever ask you what “a big blogging project” means for fear that you’ll force them to actually read your blog.
Reason #3: Everyone needs a hobby. Unless you’re a weird robot person. You don’t want to be a weird robot person, do you?
I come from a long line of serious hobby-havers.
My mother’s father was a shorthand radio enthusiast, while my father’s father made stained glass lamps.
My mother’s mother was a painter, and my father’s mother can complete a crossword puzzle like nobody’s business.
My parents are the same way. They’re not the type to relax on weekends — instead they’re always doing stuff.
My mom sews, raises chickens and plants flowers in old boots.
My dad breeds cows and hauls manure and fixes cars.
Given my family background, I’ve always felt it was important to have a hobby — something outside of my work and relationships to throw a great deal of my free time and a decent amount of my money into.
In fact, I don’t even understand people who don’t have hobbies. I mean, WHAT IS THAT ABOUT? That’s basically like telling me you don’t have a heart.
And as far as hobbies go, blogging is a pretty good one. It’s relatively cheap. It doesn’t require a whole lot of gear or technical know-how. It doesn’t usually lead to broken bones (unless you use it as an excuse to do stupid things like luging, like I do).
And it’s not nearly as annoying as other hobbies — like running or Crossfit — you know the kind of hobbies that require you to wear spandex pants and make other people feel really bad about the fact that they’ve spent an entire weekend watching Netflix in their pajamas with their cat.
Reason #4: You will get nice comments. When you most need nice comments.
Last week I was having A WEEK. I was an unmotivated garbage-person who could barely get out of bed.
And then I got one of the nicest comments I’ve ever gotten from someone telling me how much my writing had meant to them. And suddenly I didn’t feel like such a horrible garbage-person anymore.
Sure, you’ll get some pretty terrible comments from people, who will say pretty terrible things about your life choices or the way you like to use ALL THE CAPITAL LETTERS.
But the good thing about mean comments?
You can totally delete them.
And then promptly write a post that uses ALL THE CAPITAL LETTERS just to spite them.
Reason #5: You will meet some of the most amazing people who are doing some of the most amazing things.
I’ve met so many awesome people in real life that I first met through my blog.
It’s been kind of like Internet dating — except not horrible.
Most recently I met a reader who was passing through Michigan. Over dinner she told me she was writing a memoir about her time spent as a child fugitive in Mexico. (I KNOW!)
If you’d told me seven years ago, that some of my best friends were going to be people I’d met on the Internet, I’m sure I wouldn’t have believed you.
But, then again, if you’d told me seven years ago there were such a thing as “blogging rules” I wouldn’t have believed you either.
So, what the heck did I know, anyway?
Do you have a blog? Why do you blog?