Fri, January 25 2013

A confession: The five real reasons that I blog

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

Filed under:   Personal •

I recently had drinks with a mentor of mine, and he was remarking on the fact I post so often (here and at my other, LinkedIn blog). I shared with him one of the honest, personal reasons why, and he said, “You should blog about that.” Since one of my New Year’s Resolutions is to venture beyond what’s easy into the territory of what is profoundly uncomfortable (see #3), here goes. Following are the real reasons I am compelled to blog.

1. To think as I could be, not as I am. I post about ways I want to think, ideas I should pursue and how I could do better work. Each post is at its essence personally aspirational. I write to remind myself of all the lessons I should be applying, not because I’ve mastered any of them, but because I want to try. I recently heard Seth Godin tell Mitch Joel that (even he!) shares his wisdom for himself as much as for the rest of us. Blogging at its best is the pursuit of a better self.

2.To step out of my own, tiny experience. Blogging makes me do two important mental exercises. First, it makes me work through my thoughts more fully. It’s one thing to have an idea - it’s much harder to explain it in a post. Or it’s one thing to read a book, quite another to publicly discuss what was important about it. The second mental exercise is that blogging forces me to apply those more fully formed thoughts beyond my little, silly, daily existence. I have to explore the larger significance of a concept, and that in turn broadens and betters my own experience. It helps me combat intellectual laziness.

3. To kick to the curb the shrill critic in my head. There’s an unkind and unimpressed judge who visits my mind, and she is at her most outspoken when I write, brainstorm or develop a daring idea. She tells me what I’m thinking is strange or stupid or shameful. Often, she gets in the way of my work—for example right now as I blog about blogging, which she yells that no one cares about. Perhaps you’ve met her on occasion. I know Brene Brown has met her, as has Anne Lamott, who points to her perfectionist tendencies. As Lamott puts it, “Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life… Besides, perfectionism will ruin your writing, blocking inventiveness and playfulness and life force (these are words we are allowed to use in California).” Each time I post something, however simple or small, it involves kicking this inner critic to the curb. It’s creation having to crush fear. Even if the shrill voice is right, if I hit Publish, at least I didn’t listen to her. At least I put something imperfect out there. At least I kept trying. We have to go to battle with this judge as often as we can, with as much force as we can muster. That - as far as I can tell - is the arduous but necessary road to invention.

4. To be in the act of creation. (This reason requires a lot of kicking to the curb.) I believe that if we’re in the act of creating something, we are living most fully in that moment. An act of creation is gloriously affirmative for ourselves and can be a gift to others. I wrote my book when I was going through my divorce from my first husband, and that generative act amid destruction taught me a thing or two about the power of making something. It’s really good for a person. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece and it doesn’t have to be the best thing we ever did. It just has to be something that is our own, that we put out there for others. It might be a book, an idea for a new product or a loaf of bread. As long as creation is happening, we are really living. Blogging makes me create, even at 11 pm when I really don’t feel like it, and that practice makes me more creative in everything else I do.

5. To make it better for someone else. You’ll notice that up to now, this is an entirely selfish list. That’s what makes this a confession. I blog with the dream of being a better person, and I write and share the kinds of things I most want to read. Honestly, that is what gives me the energy to do it every day. And yet… While it’s in many ways about me, it’s about you as well. It seems that when we share with others our aspirations, our interests and our passions, it helps other people connect with their own aspirations, interests and passions. It makes something bigger than just me or just you. I care deeply about that. If I didn’t, I would have a diary instead of a blog. My happiest blogging days aren’t when I’ve written a post I like (and believe me, I don’t have many of those given that judge in #3). They are when I created something that someone else said made a difference to them. Or when someone reacts in a way that advances my ideas in a fresh direction. By doing #1 through #4 in public, that is sometimes possible. And that is what makes thinking out loud, in type, ultimately worthwhile. It’s the hope that I might find a meeting of the minds, in the limitless and inspiring place that is far above and beyond the confines of my own head.

  • Comment: (13)   

Comments

Regardless of your reasons for blogging, I’m glad you do.  : - )  I look forward to your posts and start my day by reading whatever you’ve chosen to share. 

I think a lot us can relate to #3.  : - )  Now if we all just start ignoring the voice a little more.

Posted by Renee' Carey  on  01/25  at  08:43 AM

You hit it right on, here. I can relate to this so much, especially the point about hushing your inner critic. Having the courage to post something that may not be totally perfect is one of my biggest, most constant struggles. It was easier when I was just writing a personal blog, but as soon as I started doing it for professional purposes, it got much harder. Love this post! Thanks.

Posted by Kris Robinson  on  01/25  at  11:36 AM

Kudos on this post! I too visit your blog daily. Your transparency is inspirational and corresponds to all forms of the creative. While I don’t blog, the creative work I do always has that perfectionist monkey on its back.  Thanks for being relational and vulnerable!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  12:20 PM

The judge in your head totally loses today. This post is brilliant, well-written, and very helpful to me personally. (I also plan to pass it on to a friend who is intrested in starting a blog.) Every time I read your blog, I am glad I did.

Posted by Tom Robinson  on  01/25  at  12:21 PM

Hi Katya
I read your blog regularly and this is one of my favs. I struggle with my work and confidence each and every day so it was refreshing to hear the importance of aspiration and bigger thinking. Nice to hear you struggle too!

Posted by Tina  on  01/25  at  12:37 PM

I am so glad that you quell the shrill critic in your head. I read your blog regularly and benefit greatly from it. Thanks for sharing your daily inspiration and being brave enough to share such personal thoughts today. You rock!

Posted by Roslyn  on  01/25  at  02:11 PM

Great post - it applies to most of us who write in any medium, not just blogging - Thanks for sharing - great affirmation of why it’s important for both ourselves and others! Great end to the day, thanks!

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/25  at  05:25 PM

Katya, thank you for these thoughts. They come at a time of year for me when , as with the landscapes I work with are shut down for the winter, I also am feeling like I need a jump start to begin growing new ideas to enhance the lives of other with selfless creative thinking. This is just what I needed to end the day.

Posted by Suzanne edney  on  01/25  at  06:17 PM

I am grateful for your blog and appreciate your honesty in this post. Keep up the great work.

 

Posted by Patrick@missionglue  on  01/26  at  12:25 AM

Thanks for the honesty. I’m a regular reader of your blog, and am also a blogger. This resonates, particularly the bit about using the blog to clarify your thoughts about an issue.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  01/26  at  04:55 PM

Love, love, love!

Posted by Kivi Leroux Miller  on  01/29  at  05:28 PM

Katya,  I so appreciate your willingness to write about what is most vulnerable for you.  Have saved this for several days as I am always behind reading blogs, but knew I did not want to miss this.  Thank you!  And a word about your inner critic - you might consider an additional approach - talking kindly but firmly with her.  She probably thinks she is trying to take care of you.  She might respond well to your recognition of this - and keep reassuring her that what you are doing is important and good for her too!  In gratitude for all you are doing.  Savitri

Posted by Savitri  on  01/31  at  01:30 PM

Goodness! What a great post. I’m fussy about the blogs I keep up with and yours is one of only a few (despite my backog and reading this a month after posting). All your reasons sound right on, and I agree that the judgey voice in your head totally loses; at least for me most of the time there is at least a nugget of something I find really worthwhile - this post was inspirational from start to finish.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  02/27  at  03:22 PM

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