I have been blogging for a year now and every once in awhile an acquaintance will ask me why I blog. I usually answer that I like to write. But it goes deeper than that. I write a blog for several reasons. But before I go into those reasons let’s first look at just what it means to blog.

According to Wikipedia the term came about by combining the two words web and log or weblog. Web for the internet and log as in a journal. The most accepted meaning of a blog is that is a journal posted on the internet. A blog can be hosted on sites such as The Patch, which is a network of local interest news sites,  or for a nominal fee you can have your own private  blog on a website such as wordpress.com. For a few dollars a year you can have your own special website and blog to your hearts content.

Blogs can be narrow and focus only on one certain subject such as: food, sports, pets, politics, etc. This narrow focus is the most common; however I prefer to write about a variety of subjects. You can blog about what ever you are passionate about. You can share your expertise on certain subjects with others. You can even blog about what you are mad about and use your blog to vent and tell everyone what is wrong with this world of ours. The choice is up to you.

Now back to why I blog. First of all I do like to write. Writing provides me a creative outlet. I like the challenge of trying to express myself in a thoughtful and hopefully intelligent manner.

Some of my blogs such as Expletive Deleted and Eating My Mistakes have been written with the intention to entertain the reader. In both those blogs and others I try to bring out some humor while I point out some of my failings as a human being.

Other blogs are meant to tell a story. Some stories such as Watching Momma Die are sad. Some stories are joyful; such as Grandpa Daycare.

Some of my blogs have been written with the intention to help others where I can share my experience on subjects such as Butterfly Gardening and my six part series on Going to Disney World With Little Children.

With my apologies to my readers I have used my blog to vent. In pieces such as  I’m Voting For None of the Above I used my blog privilege (and it is a privilege) to vent about things that bother me. However, I did it in thoughtful and civil manner. I formulated my thoughts and tried to present the rationale behind my position unlike many of the people I see posting venomous comments in the comments section of some blogs.

One thing is sure you can’t wear your heart on your sleeve when as a blogger you present your thoughts to one and all. Every writer has critics. Some critics are thoughtful and considerate. Others will, if you let them rip your intellectual heart out and trash it with their irrational comments. This happened to me when I wrote my first blog on Ohio Senate Bill five. Many of the comments were mean spirited and intended to hurt. One particular Tea Bagger called me a “union thug”. How could a grandpa such as myself be a thug to anyone? I didn’t let her venomous comments get to me though. And funny, but after I sent Vito and Rocco to talk to her I never heard from her again.

One of the many benefits of blogging is that it helps you formulate your thoughts and put them into some semblance of order in a rational manner. Sitting down and writing with the intent to explain your thoughts to others causes you to examine those thoughts. And in doing so you can bring focus to your feelings. Just the simple process of putting your thoughts on paper can bring clarity and at times resolve many of your concerns.

Many bloggers write with the intention of gaining the approbation of others. They try their best to please the reader with the hope of gaining more readers and acclaim. However I don’t write for others. I write only for myself. Like most people who write I like it when someone says something nice about my writing but it is not an essential ingredient in my writing. Walt Whitman, the American poet said in Leaves of Grass “I exist as I am, that is enough, If no other in the world be aware I sit content, And if each and all be aware I sit content.” For my writing to be of worth to me it must be meaningful to me. In that way I will most likely never be a conventionally successful writer because first and foremost my writing must be honest, open, and of import to me. Many people who write do so just to get published. As a blogger you are in effect your own publisher. and you control your output. It is all up to you.

There is another more personal reason that I write. I believe that human beings have an inherent need to connect with others. The English poet John Donne said in his poem

No Man Is An Island:

No man is an island entire of itself; every man
is a piece of the continent, a part of the main;
if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe
is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as
well as a manor of thy friends or of thine
own were; any man’s death diminishes me,
because I am involved in mankind.
And therefore never send to know for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

This need to connect with others is primeval. From the first homo erectus to walk on two legs to the homo sapiens of today the need to connect is imbued in our being. The desire to know that we are part of humanity resides within us all. So my writing is my way of reaching out and connecting with others.

I have found that sometimes the most difficult part of blogging is just getting started. The mere act of putting the first word on paper can paralyze oneself. Many people have told me that they would like to write but they just can’t get started.  I may spend days or even weeks before I start writing a blog. Sometimes it takes all the strength I can muster just to get started. But once I am able to get that first word on paper or into my word processor the piece at times takes on a life of its own and as if by magic it completes itself with my presence a superfluous accessory to the creative process.

One thing that helps is to jot down any and all ideas for a blog that may occur to you. I keep a legal pad on my desk where I scribble down ideas for blogs. I currently have six sheets of paper filled with ideas. Some ideas are just snippets of a larger theme; most are only one or two words that convey the intent of a future blog. Rarely do I flush out a blog when I first think of the idea for a blog. The thoughts behind  this blog first cried out to me some months ago.

So how about it? Why don’t you join me as a blogger? Blogging on WordPress.com is easy and inexpensive. I am sure that you too have something to say and I look forward to reading your first piece.