Only connect. – E.M. Forster
That’s it. I could have ended this post there, as it would have answered the question in the title. The rest of this post deals with something quite different – why I felt the need to ask ‘why I blog’ in the first place.
It certainly isn’t to help build some sort of a writing career. If it were so, I would have spent my time doing a different kind of writing, or at least, writing a different kind of blog. The blog I have made and continue to make doesn’t help much in that regard. A lot of people I meet here are specifically interested in the art, craft and psychology of writing, but I am hardly as efficient as them. I took myself seriously for a while, even wrote a draft for a book of essays I’ve found myself unable to look at for various reasons, but writing, in general, is not the reason I am here.
It’s not blogging either. I have been doing this for a while now, almost two years. Though my blogging appears confident, I don’t have the statistics to back it up. I blog regularly, but this blog still has a long way to go before it considered one of the ‘moderate-to-big’ ones. In fact, I doubt it has the potential to go anywhere near that sort of a scale, which is why it certainly isn’t the views or likes it notches up that is my main concern. In fact, the more I do it, the more apathetic I become to that sort of feedback. I’ve reasoned countless times, statistics aren’t always the most accurate assessment of the quality of your posts. No matter how many times a day, a week, a month or a year you have numbers staring at your face, it can’t possibly reflect what your blog has qualitatively meant to every single person who has read it.
I miss quite a few bloggers. I’ve always made it a point to follow only a manageable number of blogs. I don’t want to follow someone out of politeness or flattery. I follow them because I want to read them. Because I want to invest in what they have to say. Because I connected with what they built over the course of their blogging. I got to know what they were sharing about their thoughts, their talents, their lives, and I kept coming back because I connected with that. It is superficial and frivolous by all reason, but it was a meaningful connection nevertheless, one you might make with a neighbour or a radio jockey that you have known for sometime. It isn’t official, but it is real.
Therefore, if they stop blogging or delete their blogs, I naturally miss them. I myself went on a hiatus for a while earlier this year. There were various reasons for it, but the more I drifted away, the more I realised how much time and energy I spent behind blogging. I filled that time with other things, and I didn’t want to come back, thinking there isn’t anything different I can do that will make me excited about it. And it’s true. I still haven’t done anything any different. I came back anyway because I felt it was a shame to let all the work I’ve put behind it just sit, gathering dust on the interweb. I decided to go on, because I missed the basic connection that I made through writing my blog, and through responding to other blogs. It has come to be a habit, but in its own way, it is part of the fabric of existence.
The word opinion comes from the Latin ‘opinor’ which means “to think”. I prefaced my blog name, as well as my posts, with an ‘Of’ because that is what the pioneering modern essayists did with the title of their essays. Therefore, my blog name simply means ‘Of Thinking’. In practice, it is much the same, where I open a conversation with you about something I have been thinking. Because it is a blog and not a real-life conversation, I get to say all my thoughts on the matter, and then I wait for you to tell me what you think. I don’t think of my ramblings as a piece of literature, i.e. art, waiting to be critiqued in the comments section. The comments section is for you to say whatever you think, for this to be an exchange of ideas, a conversation in the truest sense. As a blog reader and commenter, I too participate in this back-and-forth game, having conversations on other blogs. And that is the only reason I blog. Only connect.
You don’t have to read or follow this blog if you don’t want to. You don’t have to leave a like or a comment if you don’t want to. It’s not about the numbers for me, and it’s not about building my brand. I also can’t promise doing the same for you. But, I am willing to participate in the game of conversations. Are you?
Why do you blog?