Why I Write: Reflections on 8 Years Of Blogging

This month marks 8 years since I started this blog. I’ve been asking myself for awhile why do I keep showing up and writing here every single month.

I’m not “an Internet celebrity.” And, this isn’t what pays the bills. I could stop blogging at any time, and I doubt many would even notice.

My reasons for blogging have evolved a ton since April of 2010. The reasons I write today look nothing like why I originally started this blog. Thankfully so.

I recently read this post from Ann Handley about why she writes. It deeply resonated with me.

To Indulge My Curiosity

I’ve always been insanely curious. I vividly remember being 8 years old spending hours searching and reading articles on Microsoft Encarta on our Windows 95 computer. Or locking myself in my room and reading Nancy Drew, Goosebumps and Babysitters Club books for hours on end because I wanted to and maybe also to escape the chaos of my younger brothers.

While my focus has shifted, my curiosity hasn’t left me. I still spend hours and hours every month reading nonfiction books, listening to podcasts and watching documentaries. (I even have a monthly newsletter where I share reading recs with a few hundred subscribers. (You can sign up here if you are interested in receiving these emails. )

I particularly love thinking, talking and writing about deep existential topics. I might not always understand everything being said, but I like learning and being challenged in that way.

Writing happens to be my go-to way to process and work through all of the things that I’m learning about.

To Teach Others

When I first started this blog, I tried way too hard to go viral. While admittedly a couple of my posts – like this one – went mildly viral, as a whole, my posts were scattered. A lot of them were cringeworthy.

My whole POV of my blog started to change when I stopped caring so much about the vanity results each post got (i.e social shares, traffic stats) and just started to write as a way to teach people the small amount of stuff that I knew about.

Even 5 years ago, I never understood how people could spend 10+ hours on one blog post. I used to write a blog post in like 30-45 minutes and then immediately post it. I’d publish like one post a week on here. I prided myself on that.

I beat myself up at times now because I’m happy to post once a month. Sometimes, it is more like once every 6 weeks. But, each post takes me at least a few hours to write, edit and publish.  (And, this post took me more than 2 years to finally get the nerve to publish it.)

To Open Myself Up To Differing Viewpoints

I’m not necessarily proud of this, but I learn a lot more from my shortcomings and failures than in the rare times when I’m told how great I am.

When you post things on the Internet, it is inevitable that there are going to be times where people disagree with you or flat-out tell you that you are wrong.

When you lean into the discomfort and constructive criticism, you can learn a ton.  Not to mention, it makes you stronger, more resilient and antifragile.

To Get Out Of My Comfort Zone

I often joke that writing is the best and cheapest form of therapy. The reality is there’s a lot of truth to that.

Whenever I am trying to solve a hard problem or process a difficult or upsetting situation, I always turn to writing. Writing shitty first drafts – as Brene Brown calls them – can be a great way to get a 50,000 foot view of the problem, not to mention understand yourself better in the process.

While I don’t post my first drafts on here, I’ll often post my 2nd or 3rd drafts.

To Be More Open and Vulnerable

Transparency is one of the necessary components of building trust. Trust is needed to have deep, lasting conversations that build on top of each other.

So how does this have anything to do with writing? I realize my real reason for writing is that it is my preferred method to express how I’m thinking and feeling.

I love teaching and sharing things I know about (and will continue to do that). It is more than that. It is also my little place to work through complex ideas and problems. It is a place for me to be real, honest and vulnerable.

I’m slowly realizing that the more open and vulnerable I am in posts, the more people respond and reciprocate it.

The single biggest reason why I write is for community.

Going back to Ann’s post, she wrote,

“Ultimately, I write to feel less alone. To attract and connect with others who share even a fragment of my mindset. I write to find my squad.”

Over the years, I’ve made countless IRL friends from initially writing and interacting on this blog that I later would take offline. This blog (and a lesser extent Twitter) have been the greatest thing for an introvert like me to find my tribe.

Chances are – if you made it all the way to the end of this post, you are probably a writer too. Why do you write?

2 Comments

  1. Novlette Kidd April 28, 2018 at 12:29 pm #

    Hi Jessica

    I am not a writer..I’m a reader. I found your blog interesting. Giving me a new idea that maybe, just maybe there lies a writer within me.

    Kind Regards

    Reply

    • Jessica Malnik April 29, 2018 at 10:36 am #

      Thanks, Novvlette! Glad I could inspire you to think about writing! 🙂

      Reply

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