Every day, people from all around the world start a site on WordPress.com to share everything from photos from their latest adventures to deeply personal stories from their lives. What motivates them to do so? We asked seven bloggers from the WordPress.com community to tell us what inspires them to blog. Here are their responses:
My primary reason for blogging came from the multitude of projects I have going on all the time. A friend once said, “Oh, you’re so creative — I could never do THAT,” and I insisted that all art is trial and error. So I started the blog to share ideas about what I’m doing, things I learn, mistakes I make — just to show people that art isn’t always some mystical, magical, PERFECT thing. It takes work and practice and mistakes, and it’s okay to have fun doing it! I always get such great feedback from people saying, “I think I’m going to give that a try!” — which always makes me smile.
So, I can be an excessively lazy person. I don’t mean just your average lie around in pajamas all day lazy, I’m talking like wear dirty socks at least three days too long because I can’t be bothered to do a load of laundry, and also deciding that washing my hair is just too much work and “hair wadding” is probably the next big fashion trend anyhow, so why not start early? But I’ve learned over time that I can trick myself into being less lazy about blogging by promising myself brownie rewards once I finish a post. I guess you could say that a main inspiration for me to blog is a combination of my highly tuned skills at self-trickery and warm gooey brownie treats.
“Blogging has given me an outlet to just be myself, and it turns out I kind of like me…”
But all silliness aside, I started blogging during a really tough period of my life, and I think I just needed to be able to reach out and share who I was, not only to other people, but to myself. As a long time sufferer of severe social anxiety, I have an incredibly difficult time being myself around other people. And I desperately needed a way to show myself and other people that inside I am someone more than what my anxiety allows me to be on the outside. Blogging has given me an outlet to just be myself, and it turns out I kind of like me, and some other people kind of like me too, which is a surprising and wonderful feeling. So I suppose what inspires me to blog even more than my own self-trickery is really just the ability for me to be me in a way I was never able to before.
My blog, table twenty eight, began over three years ago as a solution for collating and documenting two of my greatest passions – photography and food. I’ve been an avid photographer from a young age, and that became intertwined with my love of cooking (and eating), impulsively picking up my camera to capture a dish I’d made or taking it along with me to a restaurant in the hope of being served a visually impressive dish.
My blog started as a little personal project, a place to function as a photographic journal and “brain dump/collage” for anything related to food; however, it’s now grown into something much more valuable. It’s not only provided me with a creative outlet, but has also allowed me to vastly improve my photography skills and experience throughout these years.
By setting myself the goal of photographing and writing a post once a week, it’s inspired me (ok, sometimes forced me!) to pick up my camera and style a food shoot. It’s paved an invaluable path to developing my own personal photography style and providing motivation for hours and hours of practice. I daresay I wouldn’t be taking the photos I am today if it hadn’t been thanks to my blog.
The first answer would have to be my kids. I’m an older dad and my blog started with several aims — all of which were the result of me being a dad. It’s such a transformative experience, and so much of my private writing had started to become singularly focused on it; I guess it was just natural to start sharing my musings.
I thought of it as an art project for my kids. I wanted there to be a piece of me—a piece of me in my own words that they could visit for any number of reasons; to find out more about who I was before I had them; to meet the me they’ll only remember from pictures and movies. Or even just a way for them to visit me and to hear firsthand how much I loved them — right from the start. I should be around for quite some time and when I do leave what I know is that my voice will live in their heads. This will provide them some words so they can hear me whenever they need to. It won’t be the same as having me around, but it’s something.
“It’s really been remarkably cathartic.”
A big part of the transformation for me has been to become more comfortable in my own skin. My blog is a great way to challenge myself to keep pushing through discomfort so I can have as little difference between my internal and external selves. Had you asked me what was keeping me from starting a blog before, I’d have told you that I was too embarrassed to be “naked” in front of so many people I know and have known. Now I’d say being that honest, raw and vulnerable has been amongst the greatest outcomes from the whole endeavor. I don’t want my boys to be afraid to be wholly themselves or ashamed of something so normal as having feelings. The wonderful and loving feedback from so many people I know and people I have never met before has allowed me to put down so many misconceptions about who I was “supposed” to be. It’s really been remarkably cathartic.
I’m inspired to blog by so many things: by music, by films, by other bloggers, by the city I live in (London), and by the people I meet in my day-to-day life. I think for most of us, life can be hard and there’s a lot of figuring out to be done, a lot of conclusions to reach. Whenever I reach a rare moment of realization, I’m inclined to share it with my readers — just to see if anybody else feels the same. I often write about my own inspirations and the places that I’ve been and things I’ve seen. I work as a musician, and I try to take as much inspiration from the world around me as I possibly can. I’m very lucky to live in an amazing part of the world and it’s hard not to feel inspired when surrounded by so much history, so many people, and so many stories.
I teach writing (and television studies!) to college students and consistently hear myself reminding them that writing is about process — a way of thinking, hashing out, and ultimately (on a good day) communicating ideas. For me, writing also rarely stays in a vacuum, nor should it — at least apart from my grammar school journal full of delightfully repetitive lists of daily activities, including accounts of gymnastics practice, homework, school, and snacks. I’ve long loved writing and do a lot of it in my daily work, writing academic articles and a dissertation and now working on a book. Academic writing, while awesome in so many ways, also moves quite slowly. But when I started blogging on Girls Like Giants (GLG), it gave me a platform to practice writing about things I cared about in pop culture and to work out my ideas in a public space and it made my academic writing stronger. I also blog about cooking, which is more for me than anybody else, but still provides an outlet to practice and keep my writing muscles active — especially important for me during a busy term of teaching.
“[My blog] gave me a platform to practice writing about things I cared about in pop culture and to work out my ideas in a public space…”
At first, it was really hard for me to put my ideas out there — I am by nature a pretty private and shy person. But what I found in blogging consistently is that it got easier and easier and became exciting to force myself out there via writing and finding and connecting with a community of people. It helped me test ideas and practice backing up my points of view. Plus, through blogging on GLG (a blog I co-founded with my friend Sarah), I found a partner in crime and somebody who has been instrumental in propelling me to write (and she is a great and generous editor) — a community within a community, so to speak. So, in sum: I blog for a lot of reasons. And, ultimately I do it for myself, but I always hope that other people also enjoy engaging with my writing and that it resonates with readers.
I’m inspired to blog by any number of things. It can be something I’m interested in — an idea, a philosophy, a place, an experience, a thing — or something that I intentionally blog about, like writing, books I’ve been reading, or a film I’ve seen. When I started blogging 10 years ago, blogging had a very DIY feel. But thinking back on it, I still hold to that fount of inspiration, the importance of being true to yourself, and writing about things that matter to you. First and foremost, blogging comes from you. Second is writing for the audience and connecting with a community. If you are passionate about and interested in what you are writing, then that comes across and readers will be able to see that.
As the years pass, keeping to that foundation means that your blog will adapt to your changing interests and passions, and will be something you can look back on, as a record of who you were, perhaps still are, and all the things that you have been through. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself occasionally either. I’ve participated in a couple of monthly blog challenges, and also try to write about emotionally difficult topics when I feel that they will help other people. This is the tension between writing for yourself and writing for readers: The trick is to also think about how you can turn your experiences and what you’ve learned into something that can advise and inspire your readers and community.
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Interested in honing your blogging skills and making writing a habit? Blogging U. is a fantastic way to get expert advice, instructive assignments, and support from a community of bloggers and staff. Find more information about Blogging U. here.