That’s a question I’ve asked myself numerous times over the past few weeks.
Sometimes I posed the question abruptly to catch myself off guard (as though such a thing were possible) and hear my knee-jerk response, some sort of subconscious truth. Other times it was more of a mediation. I interrogated myself as both good cop and bad cop, I pleaded with myself, and I even briefly considered a bartering with the Devil a la Dr. Faust. Needless to say, none of these methods proved very useful. My answers ranged from the practical (“I have a job now and less time to blog.”) to existential-crisis-inducing (“If I am a floating speck in a colossal cosmic accident, how am I supposed to blog?”). The only thing these answers all had in common was that none of them were enough to get me back into blogging.
I kept thinking the answer was out there, or rather, within me, and I was just not being totally honest with myself. I’m sure others have asked themselves the exact same question and wondered why the answer was so elusive, why it had that perpetual tip-of-the-tongue feel to it.
My big revelation was simple: it is the wrong question to ask. There is not a single correct answer to it. So I framed the question differently and once I did, I felt like I could begin to answer it. So now I ask, “Why did I get into blogging in the first place?”
Well that has plenty of answers, all of them true. All of them, I wager, can be distilled into a single word: perspective.
I started because I have a unique perspective, we all do. I have a dark sense of humor. I’m nostalgic. I’m sarcastic to a fault. I have strange opinions on everyday matters. Everyone, including me, has stories, thoughts, memories, and feelings that are contained within them and shape them as an individual.
The real essence of blogging comes from this perspective, the way that we as individuals encounter the world. On that note, I’d argue that blogging has two fundamental, deceivingly simply, purposes.
The first purpose is to put my thoughts out there so that I can see them from a distance, look at them from different angles, twist and turn them until I uncover something about myself. E.M. Forster once wrote, “How can I tell what I think till I see what I say?” Although I am writing for an audience, I myself am part of that audience. Only once I get these thoughts out of my chaotic about-to-derail train of thought can I begin to look at these thoughts and appreciate them for what they truly are, the most basic parts of my existence.
The second purpose then is to share my outlook with others who have a totally different worldview than me. True, your thoughts and my thoughts might overlap in places, but they are still distinct and separate entities. It is through blogging that we express and allow others to experience what it feels like to be us. To illustrate this point, think back to a time when you read something brilliant and the barrier between your own thoughts and the words on the page dissolved. The two lines, your thoughts and the author’s words, converged into a single stream of consciousness. To use a technical term, what you experienced was a “suspension of disbelief.” That feeling was the alignment of your perception with another’s perception. In effect you temporarily became what you were reading. You escaped and welcomed this escape.
There are a million reasons to stop blogging. Each time the circumstances are different but the solution is the same. Instead of looking at the ending, the fallout, look towards the beginning. You have a perspective. Put it out there to hear yourself speak and to share with others your remarkably tiny yet irreplaceable piece of the human condition.