Why I Blog

31 Oct

After reading Emily J.’s recent blog post, Why I Spoil Books,  I decided to explore why I blog and what I hope to do with Living Literarily.

As an academic, I’d always loved the idea of starting a blog. Well, I suppose I should say I was a student more than an academic (I just completed my MA in literature). Anyway, as someone entrenched in the jargon, structure, and grading system of the academic world, I thought blogging could be my escape: a way out of the land of proof and evidence and into the realm of opinion and imagination: a place to share my thoughts about books without the looming constraints of a grade sheet.

Well, like so many goals in life, I thought starting a blog was a great idea, but I never got around to actually doing it. For years I’d toyed around with the idea, playing with themes and titles, exploring topics I would write about someday. But it wasn’t until this summer when I started a marketing internship and writing for a company blog that I got the real kick I needed to start my own project. I was using WordPress at work, so I thought “how hard can it be to start from scratch and create my own WordPress site?”

The initial answer was, “not too bad.” I registered for WordPress, experimented with several themes and layouts, spent hours toying with blog names and started several (still unfinished) drafts. In fact, I’m sure I spent way too much time with these [easier] tasks and did just about everything Jon Morrow says will make me just another mediocre blogger nobody gives a crap about.

excited

Excited I started a blog!

But despite my beginner mistakes, I did it! I started my own literary blog! I found an escape from academia! I created a space to write, and think, and share, and discuss literature and how it affects my life and how I think it affects the world.

Oh, what grand ideas I have…

And that’s when the real work started. Oh yeah, I actually have to write compelling posts on here. I have to create something that might have some general interest to the public. I have to release my writing to the masses. This isn’t just dropping a hard copy draft in my professor’s mailbox. This is letting go, releasing my writing to anyone who may stumble across it. What I didn’t anticipate when I started a blog is, all of this creating and writing and releasing and letting go is terrifying.

And then I did something that changed the life trajectory I had mapped out for myself…

I left academia half way through the summer.

In fact, I decided at the last minute–only weeks before I was about to start my first year as a doctoral candidate–that I needed some time away. At the time, the decision was mainly financial. I was newly engaged and my fiancé was beginning his second year of medical school. Two students trying to start a life together with a fear of debt (ingrained in us by our financially conservative parents) and the hope of starting a family someday doesn’t paint the most promising picture of comfort and financial stability. So I decided to keep my job as a content marketer and think about going back to school later.

That was about two months ago and I’m happy with my decision. I like that I get to clock out at the end of the day, unlike the ever-present guilt of never working hard enough as a grad student. I like that I feel my work is concretely contributing to my company’s goals. I like my coworkers and feeling part of a community. There are many things I like about my new job and many things I didn’t like about academia.

…But I miss studying literature.

And that’s where Living Literarily comes in. It gives me a space to study and think about and write about what I love, even though I’ve chosen to pursue another career at this time. And though, I’ll admit, it’s hard to find time to write and read as much as I’d like with a full-time job, I love that I don’t have to give it up. In a strange way, this blog made it possible not to choose. I can pursue my love of literature in a real way while maintaining a stable career. Now I get to have both.

So there’s some irony for you: I started a literary blog so I could escape the formality of my university literature classes and I continue to blog so I can keep literature in my life now that I’m outside the ivory tower.

Finally, the third reason I blog is to have an audience. Now, I know this sounds vain, but let me explain…I started a public blog instead of writing in my journal because I believe there is value in bringing in outside opinions. I don’t want my thoughts stored up in my head or in some bubble that no one will ever read. I publish each post with the sincere hope that feedback will follow. I hope for critique and debate. I hope to improve my writing and thinking in ways that would be impossible without a public forum. I hope to gain insights and ideas from other blogs as well as build a sort of virtual community.

So despite its terrifyingness, this is my chance to connect and create with the freedom of being outside the walls of the university, but with the responsibility of someone who sees the power of literature and wants to convey even a fraction of it.

To Summarize

I blog for three reasons:

  1. To voice my thoughts about the power of literature, language, and creativity in a more casual space: a space where I can insert my own voice and opinions.
  2. To keep literature and writing part of my everyday life, even though it’s no longer my career path.
  3. To engage in conversation with other literature lovers and see why others value creativity; to spark conversation about literature, language, and other tangential topics.

What about you? Why do you push through? Why do you blog?

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2 Responses to “Why I Blog”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Top book blog | Cool lady blog - November 2, 2013

    […] Why I Blog (livingliterarily.wordpress.com) […]

  2. Harry Potter & The Power of Stories | Living Literarily - May 15, 2015

    […] studies affirm why I started this blog in the first place. Living Literarily, to me, means letting stories and art and creativity seep […]

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