Ever since my friend Shawn Smucker announced that he was not going to be blogging anymore so that he could spend more of his time and energy on his writing rather than “platform building,” I have been thinking. I completely understand and support Shawn’s decision – it’s brutal to not only have to produce our own work but also promote it – so brutal in fact that many of us end up promoting work that is mediocre or not yet existent because we are so worried about our “market.” 

Because it is so easy for us to produce publish content, there are a lot of writers out there who write just for the sake of production, for the sake of numbers, for – as amazing as this is to me – the paycheck.  I’m not criticizing that practice; it’s just not the one I subscribe to.  I write because I can’t help it.  And my blog is part of that practice.

Here are the 5 reasons I blog; they are the same 5 reasons I try not to worry about numbers of subscribers or comments.

1. It gives me a place to work out thoughts with a real audience in mind. While I can and certainly do write out ideas in journals and in my works in progress, this blog space gives me an audience that I consider even as I write. Sometimes thinking too much about you is a problem – I can censor myself too much or worry too much about a backlash from readers who disagree.  But mostly, your presence in my writing mind helps me be more honest, more true because I respect you as my readers and want to give you my best.

2. It’s part of my writing practice. I practice my craft every day, just like an athlete or musician. I practice every day, even when I’m not publishing what I write, because – for me – the writing is the point.  And this blog keeps me accountable to getting some words down on the page every day.  It’s like running scales for my writer’s mind.

3.  I believe in the ideas of open access and freedom of speech. The little socialist in me thinks that everyone needs to have a voice for a society to function well, and blogging gives many who want one, a voice.  The little capitalist in me also knows that the people will find what they like and bolster the voices who do their jobs well.  I believe in this, too.

4. I love interacting with you. Every time, I get a comment here I get excited (and a little nervous.) I love reading what you have to say and thinking about your suggestions or critiques.  I want to have more of those conversations with you.

5. I believe in community. One of the things I am most passionate about is true, deep, hard community.  As I say in God’s Whisper Manifesto, “In this place, we do not exclude or include based on human-made categories. We don’t use politics or gender or religion or race or nationality or socio-economic status to decide if someone is valuable because that is a foregone conclusion – everyone is valuable. Instead, we acknowledge that at the core we are all gorgeous, powerful, and flawed people who need love and acceptance, every one of us.”  This blog forms part of my community, and for that, I am grateful.

So I get why Shawn stepped away, and I fight every day not to become platform-consumed myself.  But when I remember why I blog, I know I can and will keep going.

How about you? Why do you blog? Why do you read blogs?

For the rest of this year, I will be focusing on time with the people I love here in person. We’ll be doing some hard work at God’s Whisper and enjoying good food and laughs together.  During these days, I’ll be running my most popular posts of 2012.  I hope you will enjoy re-reading them, and I will see you back here on January 1st.  Happiest of Holidays, All . . . . may your days be filled with laughter and love.