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Boy have I been itchin’ to blog lately! Except… I haven’t been. So I felt like it was time to talk a little bit about why I blog and why (and when) I don’t.
Basically, it boils down to my needs, in combination with my priorities.
In exploring my reasons, hopefully it will give you some ideas on why you might want to blog, or not. as well.
Why I blog
There are two main reasons.
To get my thoughts out
I work through my thoughts on paper. Oftentimes, it’s the only way that I can work through one of the various complicated thoughts or topics clogging up brain space.
I used to think out loud to my partner. This has become doubly problematic.
For one, with a toddler in the house, I’m lucky if I can get a sentence out, uninterrupted, let alone a single thought, and surely, nothing complex enough to need working through.
Also, after years of being together, sometimes he just tunes me out. Or, I get a semi oppositional reply…. Like today:
“Discussing” (i.e., me talking with toddler interruptions and occasionally verifying he heard me) my bold statement of “I’m buying a FinCon 2020 ticket.” This turned into a related twitter conversation that came up about the quality of the ticket included convention catering.
Long story short, I mentioned @Saving_Sherpa and his play by play of free food procurement… husband “Oh, so someone who never got out of college mode.”
Ugh. Occasionally, though my husband is frugal as well, you can see that he does not quite share in my enthusiasm for monetary optimization. And, never got out of college mode? He still makes fun of me and my excitement over finding a free meal.
Heck he made fun of me, even IN college, for telling him about hovering post whatever-group meeting I had attended to see what leftovers I could cart home.
Back to the point, as many of the conversations I like to have involve money or optimization, or other topics in much greater detail than my partner cares to concern himself with, I talk it through with myself. In print.
Main reason numero 2, for the Community
Perhaps not the original reason that I got drawn to blogging, but, as much of a reason as any that I feel compelled to: Community.
I gave community a capital C above, because, it’s like a whole thing for me. Like an entity. It’s odd when it comes to online communities because, though there are a few names and main players, there are a lot of individuals popping up now and then adding to the feeling of community. You may forget who some are and probably don’t even know their names, but they matter.
The online community I’ve developed for myself is great. I’ve found like minded individuals that can nerd out on things that my real-life small social circle does not care about.
And, with the ridiculousness that has been my life over the last year, between losing a job, having hours cut at my backup job to ZERO and then having my son diagnosed with aggressive cancer… it’s been integral in giving me support I needed and wouldn’t have had otherwise.
Plus, it’s portable!
The community aspect has become so important to me that I just bought my FinCon 2020 ticket on presale, the week after missing out on FinCon 2019. I’m not sure I’ll be able to go, as my son and his health are my priority, but it’s one of the few goals I’ve set for myself for the next year.
But, there’s social media platforms for that?
Sure, but can you really sit down and spit out two thousand words on those platforms?
Probably good and probably bad equally, there’s nothing quite like introducing someone to yourself after they’ve read thousands of carefully crafted words, edited to present the best version of a thought.
So, I blog.
Some of the other reasons I blog:
Writing practice! That’s a pretty big reason for me.
I think myself a decent writer. Of course, you, dear reader, can be the ultimate judge of that.
All through my school years, I was ahead of many of my peers in terms of writing. Through middle school that involved many things, including creative writing like poetry. Later, more technical, science and opinion pieces.
Writing had always been a strong suit for me. And I enjoy crafting my words. Making a point stand out. Being eloquent. Especially when it’s a topic I really care about.
And, that was missing from my adult life. At work, I might write a memo here and there. Or a policy and procedure guide. Blegh.
Since taking up blogging and finding a better place for my thoughts than an annual Facebook rant, I’ve expanded and began writing from time to time on professional topics in a manner that feels meaningful to me.
Also, blogging, as it was originally intended, does do a pretty good job of giving you a LOG of your thoughts and life over time.
Since I’m not into journaling, blogging provides a good snapshot and look back of where I’ve been through time.
Now, why don’t I blog (or blog often lately)
Mainly, time and priorities (which are really, two sides to the same coin rather than different reasons).
Blogging, life and priorities
After seeing why I DO blog, this should make perfectly clear sense.
Blogging is not my “business.” I don’t make much of any money at it. Though, I have had some luck with my amazon affiliate sales, but really, that’s not because of the blogging. It’s because of the support of the community I’ve developed through blogging. Oh, and the (I just checked) $38.31 I have in my Google Adsense account after a year of running ads!
So, given that blogging is not a business for me, it can take a back seat when other life priorities demand.
I’ve touched on this in almost every recent post: my son and my family are the utmost priority in my life.
And, of course, they should be. But, a cancer diagnosis in a child really drives home the point of what really matters in life in a whole new way. If you’ve more interest in that, check out these posts:
- When Cancer Hits, Life Comes First
- Refocusing After Cancer, 3 Months into My Son’s Diagnosis
- The Complex Finances of Cancer
I finally have some downtime… but I’m not blogging.
Nope! After nearly 8 months of being away from home for the medical care required by my son, you can bet your ass I’m not going to coop myself up in my office (which took like 3 weeks to un-dig as it was also our dumping ground on the few trips we got to go home), alone, writing.
Have I wanted to write? YES. Yes yes yes yes yes.
I’ve had multiple ideas for things I wanted to write about that have come and gone.
But, finally getting to see my son at home, acting normal, and begging me to come play with him whenever I sneak off, means I’ve kept my office work to the minimum required to keep our household running. Like, finally getting to our 2018 taxes in September 2019.
Not to mention, my need to give my son my full attention while my partner spends his time (when I’m not working) catching up on 8 months of neglect to our relatively large property. I wouldn’t feel right asking him to take over “attention mode” with our son so that I can blog when we’ve got gutters to clean and rotting logs to save for firewood.
There’s also a goal of more physical fitness. Writing is good for my mental health, but I need to prioritize my physical health more. And this is hard for me. To be honest if the question is an hour to blog or an hour to take a walk, I really should go take a walk. Plus, it would not be very frugal to have to buy new clothes if I outgrow my wardrobe. I already had to bust out the “fat clothes” on this trip home.
Writing is kind of “my thing.” It’s my me time. So, I’m giving myself the ok to take today to write a little bit. Perhaps, I want to feel like “a real blogger” again after all the FOMO on FinCon 2019.
Plus, I’ve had to go back to work, some, now that we’re finally home. In true retired or semi-retired fashion, two days a week feels like an exorbitant amount of time to have to be away from home. I don’t know how people keep up on full time work for 50 years.
Which brings me to…
There’s only so much time. Blogging is mostly out.
As I said above, priorities and time are two sides to the same coin, so, this is basically a rehash of the reasons above with a slightly different tilt.
Currently, my sleep is on point! I’m getting greater than 8 hours a night and it’s wonderful. I go to bed between 9 and 10 pm with my son. Read him a book and then we crash.
I could stay up with my laptop and get some blog time in… but why?! Why would I do that when I can snag a beautiful 8 hours of sleep?
I was laying in bed this morning surfing Twitter waiting for my son to wake up. I thought, maybe I could blog in the morning? So, maybe I’ll bring my laptop to the bedroom and try to get some morning thoughts in when he sleeps in.
When I’m not sleeping there is the not minimal time spent to attend to my son’s medical needs. Sponge baths, medications twice daily in an NG tube, cleaning and maintenance (daily and weekly tasks) of his central IV line in his chest, tube feedings… it really adds up.
Taking care of ones body takes time too. Cooking and eating good food, tending to my other pets, my ferments, like water kefir (ok, that’s like 30 minutes a week). Time to exercise and so on.
Less blogging as I nurture my in person connections as well.
This may be a place where my blogging journal comes full circle somewhat. It’s also a point to touch on how blogging has helped me grow.
Yes, community came second to getting my thoughts out as a reason I started blogging. But, needing community and “someone” to hear me out was greatly in part to my lacking in person connections.
I’m not great at making friends. I’m generally introverted. I live in a small rural area. It makes connecting with others laborious.
But, in exploring myself through blogging I came to recognize how much I really need those connections. Perhaps seeing how much my online community has supported me really drove home the point.
Exposing myself and presenting my vulnerabilities in my writing have also allowed me to come to accept that I’m “strong enough to be weak.”
Or, maybe that’s just coming into my thirties. It could also being seeing how well I have handled my crazy, messy life over the past year.
I’m not ashamed to look weak to others now. I understand that once I recognize a need, it’s my responsibility to act on it. As such, I’ve committed to growing and nurturing more human connections in my “real life” more. Yet another thing that takes time and keeps me away from my desk.
This probably should have went under priorities, eh? It’s easy to see how you really can’t separate the two too much.
Well, I’m writing this as we go into week five of our wonderful five week “vacation” home. Otherwise, we’ve been gone since Christmas Eve 2018 attending to his care, expect a few couple night trips home.
This weekend, we’ll be back at it. Driving the 3.5 hours back to Portland, Oregon for the next phase of his treatment. Hopefully, the second and final half. Instead of being gone for months on end, we’ll be back and forth from home, gone for a few weeks, home for a few weeks.
My anxieties are creeping up over upcomings MRI/CT scans and the reality of dealing with a cancer that has a 50% 5 year survival rate. When my anxiety is up and I have no other outlet, I often turn to writing.
There’s a good chance I’ll get some blogging in while cooped up in the hospital room.
Best case thinking, we settle into a new norm of travel back and forth. My son proceeds well in his care and his health.
Hopefully, if these things fall into place, I won’t feel like I have to soak up each and every precious moment with him like the last drop of water in the desert. Maybe we can begin to feel a bit normal again.
For more on my son, his journey or ways to support him and us on this journey check out:
Uriah.Life his website, which also includes a link at the bottom of the site to shop on Amazon via our affiliate account, with no cost to you.
You can also find him on Facebook @UriahsFight