Why Bother Blogging?

“There are now more than 600 million blogs on the internet, spewing out 29 million new posts every day.”

Excerpt From
Dan Lyons

Statistically, this would mean only a fraction of a percent of blog posts are ever read by anybody but the poster. If an author is lucky, they might be able to get a friend or two to read their content. So… why bother? The world doesn’t need most blogs, including this one. Why should I write here, when I could spend my time enjoying a good video game, reading a book, or checking out a new streaming show?

Why do we yearn to create, or to comment, when that takes effort, and nobody is asking for you to do it? Why do we do it when nobody’s watching?

I don’t know. Here are some thoughts, though:

1. We should consider the “IKEA effect”. I value things a lot more when I’ve built them. I may be the only person to read my past few blog entries… but I’ve read them each multiple times. I value them more than other blog content, because I wrote them.

2. I like to see that I still have a unique voice. In adulthood, we are encouraged to meld our voice into whatever company we are working for at the moment, and we are actively discouraged from maintaining an independent voice. This is probably fine for most people, but when you’ve started your professional life as a writer, it’s uncomfortable to be absorbed like that.

3. There is hope that some day, some of my posts will reach a larger stage. This has happened before. I had multiple stories reach the front page of gamedeveloper.com, received comments, etc. Some of the posts were calls for more customer friendly monetization. Some were nostalgic looks back at the history of gaming. This was done between jobs, and getting my words published on a pro site felt fantastic.

4. I like calling myself a writer. I used to write professionally for print publications. I miss it! I couldn’t remain a writer by trade while raising a family in one of the most expensive places in the world. Writers, by and large, make very little money. But that’s how I started, and knowing my words have been purchased before gives me confidence to keep writing.

5. It’s a craft. As the cliche goes, it’s not the destination that counts, it’s the journey. I like seeing myself get better at a skill. Making something feels different than enjoying something somebody else has made. And in a world that doesn’t always “go up and to the right”, it is important to keep working at things you can progressively get better at.

6. It’s yours. It will stay with you over time, no matter where you happen to be working. It’s not a shared accomplishment, it’s all yours. You are the sole author. The sole artist.

It’s fascinating that most people who accomplish something that would let them retire early keep right on working… even if they don’t have a further path to success. Sure, somebody like Steven Spielberg could have stopped working after 1981 – but he had his pick of remarkable projects, so it makes sense that he capitalized on that.

But what about someone like Michael Cimino? Even after he became un-hirable after Sunchaser, he still wrote more than 50 manuscripts. He did this knowing that they were never likely to be made. Why? Why didn’t he just settle into a schedule of watching films and eating great food?

Probably for the same reason I’m writing this blog. It feels good to express yourself in long form. And it lets you hold up hope that some day, you’ll stumble upon the combination of words that will stand as a real accomplishment.

But until then, writing something is better than writing nothing.


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