The Tragic Optimist

why do you blog?

Thank you everyone for all your good thoughts about Z’s upcoming surgery.  I’m feeling much better about it.  Not saying that I’m looking forward to it, but I’m feeling like I’ll survive (her surviving has never been in much question).

Sometimes I have an idea for a blog post, and I think it to death and it never gets posted. Sometimes the idea just seems to not let me leave it be – it keeps showing up everywhere I look.

This past weekend, I got together with some local parenting bloggers when the local paper’s parenting blog had a get together. It was fun, I’d never gone to a blog-related get together, but everyone was very friendly and we all had a great time. At some point, we discussed why we blogged. Some blog as a creative outlet, some as a way to keep family and friends updated, some are hoping to get a book published, some want a way to talk about issues that are near and dear to them. It got me thinking about the reasons I blog.

Then Alicia posted yesterday about some of her favorite blogs and ended by asking everyone why they blogged.  And then today I got a survey about the “state of the blogosphere” which made me laugh.  It had questions about how much money I make on my blog and whether I have ever been fired or lost friends because of my blogging.  Huh.

So now I’m curious, why do you all blog?  Or if you don’t, why do you read blogs?  Are there certain types of blogs that you gravitate towards or shy away from?

For me, I really started updating this blog once I was pregnant.  I had been reading infertility blogs and a few blogs of friends for a while, but hadn’t quite gotten up the courage to start really writing my own.  I ended up using the blog mostly as a way to keep friends and family updated, but slowly, it also became a way to be a little more open about our fertility struggles and journey.  I wanted other people to know they shouldn’t feel alone if they were going through something similar.  It’s a little strange, since infertility is not the topic of most of my posts nowadays.

I also blog because I hate writing.  I know that sounds stupid, but writing is hard for me.  I put it off, procrastinate, find excuses not to do it and generally feel like I’m pulling teeth trying to get words out of my head and in to print.  So I started to write more frequently with the idea that writing would become easier the more I do it.  I suppose that might be the case, though writing  still is certainly not my favorite activity, and it still does not come easily.

What has been so surprising to me is how much I’ve gained from blogging in other ways.  I really love the feedback on my thoughts and my writing, and I love hearing that something I wrote might have helped someone.  I’ve also learned so very much from posting about topics that I hadn’t known a lot about before.  With my little four eyes blog, I keep learning a ton, both from my own research, but in large part from the other posters and commenters, about children’s vision and visual development.



  1. We’re pretty simple people. I blog about the Bean so we can tell her family and distant friends what’s going on with her. It’s a bonus that the only people who see the updates are those who, by definition, have some sort of interest in hearing about our daughter or seeing pictures of her with something unusual balanced on her head. There are also various services that will convert your blog into a book, so I anticipate converting what we have into dead tree format at some point.

  2. motherhoodandpotatoes

    I like to read blogs of things of interest to me. I read a lot of “mom” type of blogs out there. Apparently, a lot of the things that relate to motherhood have been written by someone out there 🙂 and I like to learn tips from others. And, where possible, perhaps I can share a thing or two. I also started recently reading about “foodie” blogs to look for good recipes and kitchen tricks/tips.

    I grinned at your comment about making money from the blog. I see a lot of posts about people doing that, but for me, my blog is just a way for me to write down my thoughts besides telling my husband about them. Instead, now he can read them at his leisure 🙂

  3. blogging for me is the best therapy avaliable!! I read others blogs cause I love stories, I love seeing what other people are doing and how they are living. I read a lot of IF blogs, and now some PG blogs because they were IFers. I also have a few book blogs and mom blogs I read, I would read anything I think!

  4. Ditto Alicia 🙂
    I joined the blogging world when I felt like I just couldn’t go through this IF journey alone anymore…and the support I’ve received is phenomenal, both in terms of others’ comments to me, and just be reading the blogs of others who are or have gone through similar circumstances…I’m so grateful for what the blog world has done for me. 🙂

  5. Right, what David said. Of course, I started blogging long before our baby was born. It was 2001, to be exact, and I didn’t have a real reason for blogging other than that I was procrastinating writing my master’s thesis. My blog evolved and became a creative outlet for recounting past experiences, often with embellished details, and also for processing current situations. After I realized I actually had an audience (mostly family and friends, but also some random strangers who’d found my blog), I strove to write more entertaining posts.

    On the flip side, knowing that I have this audience has inhibited me A LOT. I can’t vent about problems I’m having with someone who regularly reads my blog, and I often tone down my writing so that it’s PG-13, rather than NC-1 because I don’t want to offend people.

    It’s funny that what started out as a forum for me to be open has now become something with boundaries. Still, I got a book deal because of my blog, an amazing dream come true. I’ll always be grateful for that.

  6. oh jeez… I got interested in blogs academically before I started blogging myself, actually. For me the LJ is a combination of open letters to my friends/family/acquaintances/the world at large and a way for me to remember events/thoughts/etc. … then there’s the research blog which is kind of my public academic face, and of course the kiddo’s blog which really did start as a way of keeping the world updated on her status in those early days – rather than having to answer the same questions over e-mail a zillion times a day.

  7. I blog because I was not enjoying being a parent at all. I was hating it. Blogging gives me a way to write about the things I like about being a parent and gives me a chance to read positive stories other parents write. And it lets me express myself when I need to. My husband doesn’t want to talk to me about anything. At the same time, I like when people notice that there’s more to me than wife and parent. I like when people say that they got something out of what I wrote or that they enjoyed what they saw on my blog; I don’t mind if those people are “strangers” since I’m quite needy. I just like the interaction.

  8. My IF journey has been a lonely one. It is something people don’t talk about so I had it in my head I was the only one experiencing it. Then I stumbled on a blog about infertility and every post I read, I thought to myself “Me too!!”

    The more I read, the more I wanted to share my story. To read other stories makes me feel normal and the dialogue between bloggers is what keeps me sane in this crazy (and sometimes cruel) journey.

  9. This is my first visit here~and OH! Your Zoe is PRECIOUS!

    To answer your Q, I don’t know exactly what made me actually start blogging. I’ve never been great at keeping a written journal, and I love recording our memories to come. I was amazed at the support I found in blogosphere and now (selfishly) don’t wanna live without it! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  10. Hi Ann! It was lovely seeing you last week, though, as usual, too brief.

    I love this question, because it’s one to which I have no real answer. I have a lot of possible answers, including
    – it seemed like the thing to do at the time
    – my little sister and one of my brothers blogged already
    – I wanted to keep in touch with friends in Mpls better, after having moved to the Bay Area
    – and, as a poet, I found it was nice to have a non-poetry outlet for writing . . . though I sometimes post poetry too
    – when I finally joined the digital photography world, I could post photos for family & friends to see without paying ridiculous rates to print things and then procrastinate sending them for months on end. I still have a set of photos printed about 4 years ago which I have never sent out. I never addressed the envelope, forgot who I was sending them to, and now have to figure out what else to do with them. In fact, perhaps I should scan them and post them to my blog!

    P.S. Ann – I would never work for our former employer again, but someday if I join the academic world, I would love to work close enough to you that we can do lunch on a whim whenever we felt like it. I am getting nostalgic about our random lunches. And Caribou Coffee.

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