Why I Blog

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

This August, I'll hit my 11-year blogging anniversary. That's right, I started this site on a whim one night in August of 2007, sitting in my rented bedroom in a condo in Silver Spring, MD. (Any readers remember when I lived there?!) At the time, I never dreamed that this blog would see me through five states, about a million moves, & five different jobs (four of them for the same place!), plus so many other life markers.

Truly, this blog has grown up with me.

In the last year, Cleveland's blogging community has really unified. There used to be a vibrant & interconnected blogger community here - you know, when I didn't live here - & by the time I moved here, things had sort of fallen apart. Sure, there were plenty of bloggers in the area - but there were no activities, no meetups, no mechanism for connecting with any sort of a broader community.

Last summer, Leah of By Travel and Error - herself a fairly new blogger - organized a meetup of a dozen bloggers, & afterward, things progressed quickly. Suddenly, bloggers were coming out of the woodwork: fashion bloggers, food bloggers, health & wellness bloggers, lifestyle bloggers... At just under a year old, the Lady Bloggers of Northeast Ohio group now has 250+ members!

As I get to know more bloggers within this community, one of the things I find most interesting is learning why they blog. Of course, that has me thinking about why I blog - what I write about & why, what I want out of it & whether I'm getting that, & what people want to read (& whether I'm giving that). Thinking about it has me both stressed & invigorated, truth be told, & I'm trying to focus on the latter.

So why do I do this? I blog...

1. To Tell Stories

I moved to the D.C. area in 2007, & in an era before Twitter or Instagram (!), I started blogging because I wanted to tell city-life stories en masse to friends & family. These days, I feel like my storytelling skills have slipped a bit, & I try to keep in mind that it was the entire point of this space in the first place. Nothing super-crazy seems to happen to me anymore these days, but I don't want to lose my storytelling abilities - so I'd like to try to get back to my roots on this one.

2. To Share My City

Until my wedding last fall, many of the friends I made while living on the East Coast had never set foot in Ohio - & a few of them had all the standard misconceptions of my living in a one-horse town full of hillbillies & rolling plains. I love Cleveland, & there's so much to do & to see here that I want to share it with everyone. I struggle with this one because so many of my readers aren't from this area. I want to show off the city & become "a Cleveland blogger," to some extent, but I also don't want to bore longtime readers who will likely never visit the 216.

3. To Connect & to Find/Give Support

I've found so many friends & confidantes through blogging because writing in an open & vulnerable way like we sometimes do just naturally lends itself to connections & supportive friendships. I get serious here sometimes, scary as it can be to share publicly on topics like my anxiety, my ex-boyfriend's suicide, & my struggles with my body & exercising. But sharing my stories allows me to connect with other people, to find support, & to give support to others - & that's the best possible use of the gift of writing, I think.

4. To Navel-Gaze & Talk about Stuff I Like

Don't all bloggers enjoy the sound of their own voice... in writing? This is a space for me to share my own opinions, my recommendations, scenes from my life, whatever. That means writing posts about TV shows that makes me cry, products I'm enjoying, & books I've read - whatever comes to mind, really. And look, maybe no one cares about that stuffbut I like recording my thoughts & opinions like this, & it seems to be working out OK in terms of reader interest!

5. To Find Community

This is sort of related to #3, but not entirely: You don't have to write about serious topics to make friends via blogging! I love that the Cleveland blogger community has begun to unify & to get to know one another, which has resulted in some real & genuine friendships with women (& a few men!) right here at home. I'm always kind of amused at the reactions I get when I tell someone that so-and-so is "an Instagram friend" or "from blogging." Yes, they're real friends!

6. To make a little bit of money sometimes

I feel admittedly awkward discussing this one, because I haven't really figured it out. Blogging is a hobby for me - but is it OK to sometimes make money off your hobby, too? How much sponsored content is too much? I don't typically work with brands unless I really believe in their products, & only recently have I been invited to local brand events. Cleveland Magazine reached out to me as a result of my book reviews, which has led to ]freelance work, & I just formed a partnership through Collective Bias, a blogger collective, that will bring a piece of sponsored content to this blog next week. I never want content to feel off or weird or out of alignment with my standard messaging & values - but it's also hard to pass the opportunity to monetize my hobby on the occasion that the opportunity presents itself. I've put a lot of time & energy into this space, & it's rewarding to be able to occasionally reap the, well, rewards of that.


I feel like I could write an entire post, truth be told, on each of these reasons - particularly the last one, which I've been thinking about a lot lately - but I don't know how interesting that would be to the general public!

The gist of this post, I guess, is as much for me as it is for you: I've been considering why I blog, what I blog about, & what direction I want my blogging to take. 

I think it's something that every blogger goes through at some point, & I feel fortunate that I'm only really struggling with it as I'm about to hit the 11-year mark. As I start to meet more bloggers & see other blogs succeed in ways I never have, it's all too easy to get caught up in the comparison game - to wonder if I'm good enough, if I'm doing it right, if any of it is worth it.

So it helps me to write it out: to say that these are the reasons I blog, for now. This is why I'm here, why I do what I do. I'm coming to realize that the content may change in time, & that's OK - & that when the content changes, the audience changes, & that's OK, too. But as long as I'm blogging because I like to & because I want to, who cares what my numbers look like, what events I do or don't get invited to do, & whether I ever make a penny from doing it?

I blog because I like blogging - period. So I'm gonna keep doing it. Hope that's OK with you. Thanks for reading! 

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