Saturday, January 07, 2006

Why I Blog

Barbara asked why I blog...why indeed. While I work on A's birth story, which is slightly more complicated that C's, here are my thoughts on blogging.

I started blogging in September 2004 because a friend had started blogging and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Nothing like being a sheep (no offense to sheep, I grew up on a sheep farm and they are lovely animals, just not original thinkers). I was pretty good about writing for a while, then my son was diagnosed with apraxia of speech and I started getting heart palpitations so my few precious minutes of spare time got eaten up by hours of speech therapy, many doctor's visits, and a lot of panic attacks. Blogging fell by the wayside at a time I probably could have used the outlet the most.

I started blogging again this September, almost exactly a year after my first post, go figure. C had been temporarily released from the speech therapy system after having made amazing progress thanks to a goddess of a therapist and an incredible amount of dedication and hard work on his part, which no one had expected or demanded from him. He also rediscovered the joy of napping so my free time grew exponentially in a matter of a few short weeks.

This time around I have used blogging more as an outlet for me rather than a way to record fun factoids about my kids. While the bulk of my writing is still about the kids, as what else do I really have to write about, I'm doing it for me instead of as a baby book substitute. I've always liked to write and my secret dream (besides being president of course) is to write a book of some kind or another. I don't really have the discipline or ability to write a book, but short essays on my kids, I can do that.

What I really like about blogging is the instantaneousness of it all. I write, I try to edit (unsuccessfully most of the time, I'm a lousy self editor), and I hit the publish button. Voila, my words are out there for the few people who are interested to read. I also like that it gives me a way to think about what my kids are doing and how I parent in a more detached way. In the heat of the moment I tend to overreact and think that just because A hasn't slept in days means that she will never sleep again and I am a horrific parent for not somehow teaching her how to sleep many months ago. Once I get things down on "paper" I can step back from it a little bit and laugh.

I also like the fact that I can follow along with others via their blogs. I've always been a huge fan of book series, I like to get to know characters and follow their lives in books. I used to cry when I got to the end of a particularly good series, and may even cry when the final Harry Potter installment arrives, although I've discovered that reading a series in "real time" is an awful lot less satisfying than reading it years after the author has completed it. I find the same kind of satisfaction in reading other blogs regularly. "Will little Bobby ever use the potty?" "How was Jane Smith's job interview today?" Also, I don't have many close friends "in real life" as I tend to be a clam in social situations. Being able to connect in some way with others who have children makes me feel much less isolated than I was before I began blogging in earnest.

What I don't like about blogging is the pressure I sometimes feel to write because I haven't posted anything in a while. I like the fact that a few people read my writing, and worry that if I don't post anything funny or thoughtful they'll move on to greener pastures and I'll be left alone in the blogsphere again pathetically calling "Hello? Hello? Anyone still there?" I also don't like the fact that I no longer have an editor who catches my typos, spelling and comma errors. I'm a bit of a perfectionist. At my last job I wrote grant proposals and had a wondrous woman who spent her time reading my work and fixing my errors. I got used to that and became lazy. I think I'm getting a bit better but still end up going back into my posts several times because the blogger entry screen drives me bonkers and I can't seem to find my errors until they are "live."

What I like and don't like about my blog. That's one I haven't thought about much. There are several posts that I am quite proud of and should really put up a "from the archives" section so people can find them, but I am barely stumbling through the blogger template customization and can't quite figure out how to do that. I'm not wild about my template options, but also not really willing to pay for a new skin. On my list of things to do (near the bottom) is to try and figure out how to do the template changes on my own. Someday. But don't hold your breath.

I also like everyone who has found my blog. There isn't a single commenter who annoys me or who I don't look forward to seeing pop up in my email. I really appreciate the time everyone takes to read my writing and comment on it. I'm not much of an express you feelings type, so take this as your love fest for the year.

Phew! I think I hit on everything. Thanks to everyone for playing along and giving me some things to write about. I'm happy to return the favor if you ever need it.